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Harriet
Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Police enlist community reporters to give public an insider’s view

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Greater Manchester police have taken their conversation with the communities they serve to the next level by inviting in local residents to spend a day with police and act as community reporters.

Taking social media to the next level

Police in the UK have taken to social media in a big way.

Police Twitter accounts have more than 1 million followers in Britain.

Effective social media is not about broadcasting messages but about engaging with your audience.

By encouraging frontline officers to use social media, many police forces have enabled local cops to break down barriers and stereotypes and develop an ongoing conversation with many more sections of their local  community.

However, there are still plenty of people who are reflexively suspicious of the police and who regard their use of social media as just another form of propaganda.

Inviting the public in

Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) responded to this challenge by offering local residents the chance to spend a day with their local police team and act as community reporters.

They advertised and had over 200 people express interest.

Amanda Coleman (@amandacomms) gives full details on her blog.

You can see the  GM Police video of the first community reporting done by Harriet B. below:

Harriet was encouraged to publicise her experience on social media and she wrote a series of three blog posts on MumsNet.

Breaking down barriers

Much of the analysis of the English riots in August 2011 argued that one of the contributory factors was the lack of a relationship between police and the local communities they serve.

By bringing local people in to get an inside view of local police at work, Greater Manchester is making a significant step in starting to build a very real local relationship.

 

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