I’m sorry Sir, it’s against the law

There are plenty of arcane, not to say bizarre laws in the UK. However, as usual, our US cousins outdo us in the strange and wacky department. There are American states where you can’t use public transport for four hours after eating garlic, where men with moustaches can’t kiss women and where the value of Pi is not 3.14, but 4…

Get ready for Global Police Tweetathon – Part 2

Global Police Tweetathon Part 2 takes place 1 November 2013. The first tweetathon took place in March 2013; the hashtag #poltwt trended from New Zealand west to Australia, across Europe and then from the east coast of North America in a wave across to the west coast. There were 48,482 tweets in 23 different languages – reaching over 11 million people. Here’s how to get involved…

Police, Camera, Action!

Police all over the world are currently trialling wearable body cameras. Typically, cameras are worn on patrol and record high definition footage which is transmitted wirelessly to a central database. Currently, the video cameras are worn openly and are attached to uniforms, sunglasses or even hats. They have a number of possible benefits…

Police pin down criminals

Pinterest is the latest social media platform that police services all over the world have started using for a wide range of reasons. To find wanted criminals and missing persons. To locate the owners of stolen property. And much more beyond…

When Selfie stands for self-incrimination

Celebs do them, teenage girls do them, even educated fleas do them. Selfies – digital self-portraits which are then posted online – are all over the internet. The advent of Vine has provided yet another outlet for the self-obsessed to add to the usual suspects of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube. This post gives a couple of examples of how self-obsession by criminals can cause more than social embarrassment.

How do we overcome Twitter abuse?

The story of how hundreds of men mounted a sustained online attack on Caroline Criado-Perez, threatening her with rape and violent assault in reaction to her successful campaign to get the face of Jane Austen on British £10 bank notes has caused public outrage. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the story is how commonplace this sort of vile attack is. Most women Tweeters with any sort of public profile have experienced unprovoked online assaults. The vast majority of us want to see a fast, reliable way of the perpetrators of this sort of abuse facing the consequences of their actions.But how?

But none of us has yet come up with an effective response.

How cops used Twitter to catch a fish like Wanda

Finally Friday is an occasional series of posts taking a light-hearted look at how social media and law enforcement interact in unintended ways. I’ve posted before about criminals at large taunting police on social media, with varying degrees of success. The case of Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski is a worthy addition to the catologue. Ms Podgurski is a serial fraudster who was convicted in January 2013 of dishonestly acquiring $650,000 from fake insurance and disability claims. Wanda set up a Twitter account and followed just one other tweeter – San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis…

She promptly went on the run.

Ian Hitchings tweets to sound off about crime and punishment issues

I am a man of my own time, old fashioned and set in my ways. I just couldn’t get to “grips” with Twitter for quite a while. Not being technically minded Twitter wasn’t something I knew anything about. At first, to be perfectly honest, I took a sceptical view and thought this was yet another social media site without any real significance so I didn’t see what the point was of Twitter. During an exchange of some friendly banter with my son and after he had eloquently explained in glowing detail the pros and cons of twitter. He suggested that I should seriously consider giving it a go. Now, I am converted hook, line and sinker.

How burglars use social media

Criminals and law enforcement officials are early adopters of new technologies and social media in particular in their battle to outwit each other. There are plenty of ways in which burglars in particular can develop their lean systems to target and gather intelligence on potential victims and minimise the risks of getting caught. Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare are particularly straightforward ways of finding out if someone is away on holiday or business. Google StreetView makes advance reconnaissance a piece of cake. The infographic below summarises some of the main techniques in current use…

Why does a law enforcement princess tweet?

Twitter is like a multi-threaded, multi-coloured tapestry, with a million extra threads being weaved every second. Sometimes the only way to view it, the only way to keep up, is pick the threads you like the colour of and follow those.
I didn’t know what I wanted nor what I would get when i joined Twitter. I had heard it mentioned, promoted, and it struck me – living alone in a new city with few local friends – as an interesting thing to sign up to. I believe I naively thought I would make a few friends and possibly find some new hobbies. How very wrong I was.

Police & Twitter, Spanish Style

Did you know that the Spanish national police force Twitter account @policia has over half a million followers? Only the FBI has more. Police display the national Twitter handle on their uniforms and their patrol cars. Spanish Police use Twitter differently from British Police – the focus is not on engaging with individual members of the public but on gathering intelligence – frequently to target drug dealers.