Some time ago I had a leaflet through my door from the police. If you live on Merseyside you should have had the same one.
It was part of an attempt by Merseyside Police to get people's thoughts on what their priorities are when it comes to policing, anti social behaviour, crime prevention and so on.
When you think how many people live on Merseyside, that's quite a big effort.
Yet the response rate (the number of people who sent things back) was less than two percent and that was actually up on previous years.
Commercial market researchers are used to relatively low responses and build this in to what they are doing.
But the whole issue of making our communities safe and protecting individuals and their freedoms is a tad more important than finding out what brand of shampoo we prefer.
This is not necessarily to criticise the police for doing it. They have to do it by law and aside from that I do believe that Merseyside Police make efforts to find out what the priorities and thoughts of their public are.
But, as someone who teaches Public Relations and Communications, it strikes me that the methods being used, or being visibly used, are not really getting to the bottom of what people think or feel.
One of the roles of the new Police and Crime Commissioner is effectively to be the public voice. And you can't do that without putting huge efforts into finding out what people value and how people feel about safety in their communities.
I'll be blogging again about this but looking at the limited media coverage so far of these new roles it strikes me that this one seems rather overlooked.