Almost two-and-a-half years ago Greater Manchester Police (GMP) carried out the first Twitter day #GMP24 when all the calls received were tweeted during a 24 hour period. Since then GMP has been developing its use of social media and now has around 180 neighbourhood officers who are providing updates to their communities using social networks.
On Friday 22 March 2013, GMP will support the global police twitter day that is taking place and already has a number of law enforcement agencies and individuals involved. So, what has changed in the past two years?
This time GMP has a network of more than 180 police officers and police community support officers who are tweeting updates to their neighbourhoods day in and day out. These officers have embraced the use of social media to start conversations with local people and are seeing the operational benefits of these connections.
In fact officers and staff across the organisation now see social media as another channel for communication and are using it on a daily basis. In 2010 it had a novelty factor but in 2013 it is quite simply what we do. It has become so mainstream that we are discussing it at senior level meetings and are introducing it into the policing performance discussion.
There are also more networks and opportunities that exist now and can be utilised from Audioboo to Pinterest and Storify to our very own GMP app. More than 9,000 people have downloaded the GMP app that was launched for the iPhone in January this year. It provides instant access to details of what is happening where you are using geo-location technology.
In 2010 we took a brave step in starting to use social media for the Twitter day and it started many discussions among police and law enforcement agencies. On Friday we will take part but in a more mature way. We will have neighbourhood officers providing updates about their work to make the areas safer; we will be providing updates on calls received and details of the numbers of arrests during the day. There will be a two hour #askGMP session for all those questions people have about policing.
But this isn’t just about the police telling people what they are doing. GMP has recruited its first community reporters who are members of the public that will go on patrol with neighbourhood officers and then provide updates about what they found, what they made of the events, and what it made them feel. Two of these reporters will be with officers on Friday and we hope that they will add their views to the Tweet-a-thon that starts at 8am.
I hope that the global nature of Friday’s activity will capture people’s imagination in the same way the original Twitter day did back in October 2010.