Social media to show the human side of policing

Share This Post

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
This is the seventh in a series of posts based on the recent COMPOSITE report on police use of social media across Europe.

Setting the right tone

Historically, police- public communication has tended to be formal and impersonal.

Official statements about the status of a high profile operation.

Press releases about a new initiative to tackle burglary or car crime.

The COMPOSITE report found that police communications over social media had a completely different tone to them.

The nature of interactions online, particularly when between a named frontline officer (as is typically the case in the UK) and a local community following them, tends to be much more varied.

Officers typically talk about positive news, their emotions, police culture and the day-to-day incidents that make up an average day at work.

There are a number of examples of British cops who tweet in this way including @mentalhealthcop, @DS_Rosser and @TheCustodySgt who have all written about their use of Twitter as part of my Why I Tweet series.

A Two-Way street

The report found that across Europe police forces had adapted both the style and content of their messages for social media, especially when aiming for two-way communication.

Police officers told researchers that they entirely rephrase press announcements and use an informal tone.

They also said that they had received a lot of positive feedback when posting contents that are not directly or immediately connected with current police operations.

Personal messages about an officer finishing their shift or handing over to colleagues before going on vacation, often got positive responses.

The use of social media had also revealed to many forces the high level of interest among many citizens about police and police culture.

There had been positive feedback to Twitter accounts set up for police dogs (e.g. @PDTroy with 3,000 followers) and police helicopters (such as @WYPHelicopter with over 13,000).

Posts with antique photos of police officers or information about police equipment, had also been enthusiastically received.

Greater Manchester officers reported that their attempts to keep the public informed about the 2011 riots via social media were appreciated by local citizens.

In addition to receiving lots of Tweets of support from the public, local people went so far as to bring food to the police station for officers working double shifts.

 

POlice officer smiling web

 

Showing humanity promotes trust

Social media has enabled police forces across the continent to engage in a series of open dialogues with local people across a much wider range of topics.

Communication moves away from being purely related to police operations and instead touches a larger number of issues that relate to citizens’ and police officers’ everyday lives.

The COMPOSITE study found that this open communication appears to have improved the levels of trust that citizens have in their police forces.

It’s hard to think of a greater justification for police use of social media.

 

Next week the use of social media to support police IT infrastructure.

 

 

Share This Post

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Related posts

Digital Engagement
Police countdown to Christmas with #Badvent calendars

ottinghamshire Police – @nottspolice – went in a different direction entirely. Their online advent calendar replaces the daily chocolate with the picture of a “most wanted” local criminal. Originally termed the #Badvent Calendar, it was renamed the “Festive Crime Calendar”. It’s still a strong contender for my hashtag of the year award.

Digital Engagement
Report back on 2nd Global Police Tweetathon #poltwt

On 1 November over 12 thousand tweeters in 68 countries got involved in the 2nd Global Police Tweetathon organised by Lauri Stevens (@lawscomm) over at ConnectedCops. Bright Planet harvested all the data and have produced the interactive infographic below. Have fun hovering over the countries and other sections to get more information.

Digital Engagement
Second global police Tweetathon #poltwt

The 1st global police Tweetathon was a great success. The sequel launches on 1 November 2013 for 24 hours. Get involved and see how police forces from around the world use Twitter to engage with their local communities. #poltwt

Digital Engagement
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…

Policing
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…

Finally Friday
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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

keep informed

One email every day at noon