Amazon has been the fastest growing internet-based retail company in the world for the past two decades with global sales of $178 billion in 2017.

In the same year, Google had a sales revenue of $110 billion all created in just 20 years of trading.

Unless you live in a cave you will be well aware of Apple ‘s mighty impact on the lives of millions around the globe.

Apart from being American-based corporations what do these companies all have in common?

Answer: They rarely conduct customer surveys.

They make it their business to understand the needs of their consumers inside out.

These massively successful corporations use their daily interaction with customers to assess their requirements and aspirations.

Not so Cheshire Police who, despite all their personal contact with the public plus enough statistics and league tables to know what residents eats for breakfast, need surveys like a dog needs a bone.

The last ‘survey’ ran on the Cheshire Police website was to solicit the views of residents on paying an extra five per cent in tax contribution.

In lightening quick time, Crime Commissioner Keane announced that 70 per cent of respondents were in favour and whacked up the police precept accordingly.

What he didn’t announce in record time was that he based his conclusion on 1,900 replies from a total population of one million.

So here we are again with yet another ‘survey’ to determine the impact of rural crime on local communities, which is somewhat akin to asking doctors the importance of patient survival.

Why does Cheshire Constabulary need a ‘customer’ survey?

Answering the damn phone and talking to the victims of crime might be a good start instead of directing calls to a distant voicemail to which no one appears to listen.

Commissioner Keane says: “We’re actually in a unique position for PCSOs to drive forward this survey; we now have 25 PCSOs dedicated to serving each of our rural communities under my new PCSO and community-base model.”

I’m not sure what’s unique about having PCSOs. We’ve had them for years and they do a great job providing they are not tied up running pointless surveys.

If Mr Keane listens to what his officers report and moves his office back to Police HQ, all the information he needs will be right in front of him.

Frankly this ‘survey’ sounds like a bit of window dressing if our Crime Commissioner doesn’t understand rural crime by now I suggest he spends a few weeks travelling his patch and talking to the farming community.

It won’t merit a photo opportunity or a big press announcement but he might just gain some understanding of what he’s supposed to be doing.

By Guardian columnist Vic Barlow