Social media to show the human side of policing

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.

 

 

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Select Language
EMCDDA 16 drug deaths
The latest drug-related harms and responses
Andrew Brown June 16
Interesting drug and alcohol facts June 2016
EMCDDA cocaine FI
What drugs are Europeans using in 2016?
Drugwise NPS
Everything you need to know about legal highs
gavel court room
Early guilty pleas may force up prison population
reflections
Refreshing your perspective with peer research
women who kill dv
What happens to women who kill their abusers?
in care out of trouble
In Care, Out of Trouble
JFH FI
Jobs, Friends and Houses
Business success symbol and conquering adversity as a group of people running from one cliff to another with the help of a pencil acting as a bridge in a concept for bridging the gap to achieve a goal.
Will privatisation lead to innovation in probation?
hiker-on-top-of-rock-FI
What next for probation?
Privatisation word cloud
Think Tank urges complete privatisation of probation
paper clips
Myth: Only radical reforms can reduce crime
crime headlines
Why do we always think crime is rising?
3d rendering the empty room with open window
Time for a sensible debate on crime?
Close up of a line of British Police do not cross tape.
10 key facts from the latest crime figures
Carlile 10
Over 4,000 children injured when restrained in custody
RSA transitions
The future prison
gavel court room
Early guilty pleas may force up prison population
penal reform 2016 FI
Global Prison Trends 2016
Payment by Results
evolving tomatoes
The evolution of Social Impact Bonds
swift
Payment by Results and international aid
Equations
What we know about payment by results
Finally Friday Social Media Innovation Why I Tweet
AG FI
The law and social media
Unlock Youtube
Unlocking offenders’ doors to employment
digital govt
Digital government extends its reach
MoJ women in cj stats FI
Women and the Criminal Justice System
AG FI
The law and social media
Wooden gallows rope and noose in St Augustine Florida
Global executions at a 25 year high
Balaclava girl
Crime accounts for 1.5% of world GDP

Keep up to date on drugs, crime & PbR

Every new post straight to your inbox