The Police and Twitter
Last night I was invited by officers from Falmouth Police Station to take part in a small focus group on the use of Twitter by the Police. For those using Twitter and follow @SgtGaryWatts, @SgtDaveNeill and @SCAndyRobbins will know they keep the public up to date on whats happening whilst they are on duty.
Two members of the public @Healthpay and @VyvToms along with the BBC’s @Clarehawke took part in the group. The police asked for pointers on how the use of it by the Police could be improved and how it has come across so far. I have to say I really like it; as it gives a snapshot of whats going on in an area. It also come across more personal and show that Police Officers are indeed human.
No doubt there will be people who think using Twitter is a waste of time, but generally this comes from people who do not use Twitter, or understand how it can be used to communicate with people. Many MP’s and Councillors use Twitter, so why not the Police.
The trouble currently happening is the more senior officers are not fully convinced on how Twitter and other social media can be used. My impression is they feel it is like Pandora’s Box, once opened, never shut, and therefore not controllable. I disagree with the last point, as used sensibly, there is no danger. I believe senior officers in the Police are at the same place Cornwall Council was 18 months ago. Cornwall Council feared Twitter, but then realised this is a good medium and have now fully embraced the useage of Twitter and other social media platforms.
I hope more Police Officer’s will embrace Twitter but this will only happen if rank and file officer have support from their senior officers.
Here is a list of current Police Officers in Cornwall who are using Twitter (feel free to add more names)