Brian Williams is a constable with the British Transport Police who shares his knowledge about modern police history on Twitter.
Field Marshall Bill Slim
I do not see myself as a police blogger which is why I use my own name.
My avatar is that of Field Marshal Bill Slim who commanded the 14th Army in Burma during WWII.
I am a Police Constable with the British Transport Police but I rarely tweet about my work. I do however have had a strong interest from an early age in the history of modern post 1968 British policing.
I grew up during the late 70s and 1980s when policing issues were prominent on news programmes, current affairs shows and documentaries. My local library had a criminal justice section well filled with books written, overwhelmingly from a critical perspective, on the police. I read the books, watched the documentaries and made up my own mind.
I like to think that I tweet from an historical perspective on issues that impact on policing and criminal justice. My profession is notoriously bad at what experts refer to as “Institutional Memory”
I firmly believe that in British policing “All past is prologue”
One of my key moments on twitter was when a Chief Constable was dismissed for misconduct; journalists I followed reported that it was the first time that this had occurred. I tweeted that actually Stanley Parr, Chief Constable of Lancashire, had been dismissed in 1975 for fixing parking tickets and dropping drink-drive cases for his friends in Blackpool’s business community. I found that suddenly the long forgotten case of Stanley Parr now featured in the reporting of the Chief Constables demise in 2012!
I was asked by the “Justice Gap” blog if I could contribute articles to them. I was very nervous but agreed.
My first article was on the history of “Noble cause” police corruption.
The article was well received and was followed by others ranging from the Mau Mau human rights case and the integrity of Kenya’s police commissioner Arthur Young who challenged the excesses he witnessed, to the controversial history of the Met Special Patrol Group and recently the case of David Oluwale.
The people I follow are those who interest me or who tweet about things I am interested in; policing, criminal justice, history and politics.
I have had many fascinating discussions with serving and retired police officers, comedians, historians, lawyers and journalists on subjects ranging from public order policing to the Battle of Waterloo!
Twitter is about challenging and being challenged
I have learned and gained information faster than I can imagine being able to do anywhere else, I have challenged peoples’ perceptions on policing issues and had my own challenged. This is important. Twitter loses it power if it acts merely an echo chamber for your own views.
I have got far more out of tweeting than I ever thought I would. I have made and continue to make excellent contacts, particularly in the police tweeter world, many of whom I would not have managed to reach if not for twitter. I have made friendships with people that simply would not have happened without Twitter.
One of these friends described me as “An historian masquerading as a police officer” I like that description!
This is the 47th post in the criminal justice/legal Why I tweet series. Read the others here.
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