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.
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.