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Enhanced Failsoft with Security

New Advancement in Traditional Failure Fall-Back Systems Retains Security and Capability of P25 Systems During Site Failure.

Radio Systems survivability through failover
Public Safety radio systems are built for survivability so that communications work when needed. An important aspect of survivability is failover. Failover ensures that when parts of the overall system fail – either due to component issues or natural/man-made disasters – that the system continues to operate. Traditional system design incorporates redundancy for all critical components.

Failsoft: Failover when a digital trunked radio system can no longer “trunk”
The term “Failsoft” refers to any failover condition that causes a digital trunked radio system to not trunk. This is most commonly caused by a loss of the control channel that subscriber radios use when communicating to the towers to assign a resource. Traditionally in this state, all transmitters (channels) turn on and operate in a ‘conventional’ repeater mode. Subscriber radios are able to recognize this state and switch to a predetermined frequency.

In most systems, several talkgroups share a frequency. Some talkgroups may not be assigned a failsoft frequency and these talkgroups will cease to operate during the failsoft period. If a particular failsoft frequency has also failed, the talkgroups assigned to that frequency will be off the air.

Enhanced Failsoft: maintaining digital security when trunking is lost
Today, many users of modern P25 digital systems are unfamiliar with conventional analog radio systems. Using conventional systems effectively to maintain radio capabilities requires experience or training to understand the. The differences include:

  • In an analog system, one radio user can override and talk over another, interrupting urgent messages
  • Most analog signals are not encrypted, and all digital systems that fail over to analog systems lose encryption
  • Roaming between sites is done manually with adjustment of the knob position to select new channels. The talk-group does not follow the user as in a trunked radio system
  • Conventional radio systems do not support user authentication

With current trunked digital P25 systems, the average user is unaware how the system operates and what safety it creates in radio transmission. These include:

  • Encrypted radio and data transmission free of public and criminal scanning
  • Users are authenticated through automated Unit ID capabilities, while rogue users are denied
  • Anyone roaming between tours within a given system, or an adjoining system with interoperability gateways, can use the encrypted Unit ID capabilities

Failsoft Mode: deals with system failures and network connection issues in trunked P25 systems
When a trunked P25 system has a failure from a site or repeater, it goes into failsoft mode, greatly limiting user capabilities. In current failsoft mode, several limitations are placed on most radio manufacturers’ systems. These include:

  • The digital signal is no longer possible, forcing it into analog mode
  • Users must manually switch onto the appropriate conventional channels
  • The Unit ID feature is lost; dispatchers can no longer identify users
  • Automatic roaming is lost
  • Trunking features are lost
  • Rogue users can use and listen to the system, overriding emergency calls

Harris Corporation: changing how Failsoft works, protecting the trunked P25 system features
In its Enhance Failsoft with Security mode, the Harris P25 system solves these issues, resulting in:

  • Any repeater in the sites can assume Control Channel responsibility, not just a pre-determined few, reducing the probability a Failsoft event occurs
  • All sites maintain a list of authorized users. Users are authenticated even if connection to the core is lost
  • All calls remain encrypted
  • Unit ID and Call Priority is maintained
  • No user action is required
  • Automatic roaming is supported
  • Trunked operations maintained
  • Interference mitigation maintained—talk groups steered away from interfered channels
  • Each site automatically broadcasts on pre-defined frequencies

Users see very little change. No rogue users can scan or use the system. Radio frequencies remain efficient, ensuring the best signal.

#poltwt, the power of 1

This article is a cross-post partnership with Bright Blue Line, celebrating the global spirit of law enforcement cooperation, innovation and support.


What have I gotten myself into? I agreed to jump without even asking what it was, or where was I going to land. I think the last words replied were, “Let’s do this.” It is a leap I do not regret. The landing is amazing and the Power of 1 is as incredible today as it has ever been.

Imagine that Power of 1 for locating a missing child or globally trafficked human slaves! The Power of 1 is the global network of communications. The Power of 1 is Lauri Stevens at ConnectedCops. The Power of 1 is the March 212012 Global Tweet-a-Thon. The Power of 1 is the thousands of tweets directed to #poltwt.

The policing profession is often criticized for operating in a vacuum. The hierarchical command structure and assignment specialization creates a fragmented environment that regularly compromises congruity of operations. Right hand versus Left hand syndrome.

Breaking the Chains

Over the course of a day; officers enslaved by the same static command models, in the same traditional police organizations, struggling with the same challenges and the same cultures of resistance to innovative ideas broke those chains with a simple #poltwt.

How broken were those chains? Over 200 agencies from 10 countries, speaking 23 languages posting nearly 50,000 tweets. This first in the history of social media, in law enforcement, and in the technological culture of today invited the world on a police “virtual ride-along.”

The Power of 1 shined brightly for this magnificent fraternity of blue. On March 21, 2012, we operated globally in a seamless effort. Information via Tweets was transparently shared between agencies, media and citizens. A voice across the pond also advocating this Power of 1 has prepared several great articles at Nathan Constable

Envelope Pusher

Lauri Stevens, who I’ve come to know as an innovator and envelope pusher served as the catalyst to this movement; the Power of 1. This orchestrated effort costs absolutely nothing to participate in, and the simple investment of time paid the dividends of creating history.

I’d like to believe that as a Chief of Police, I’m an early adaptor to this medium. Actually Lauri bestowed me with a title of “Twief.” I’m trusting her that it is complimentary. Honestly, after the initial agreement to help promote the Tweet-a-Thon with a supporting statement on her flyer, I was still fuzzy about the significance.

Then I saw that first tweet assigned to #poltwt and immediately realized just how significant it was and would be. That  Power of 1 Tweet sparked a revolution. It signaled that law enforcement has the ability to harness the power of communications, technological cooperation and collective effort on a singular area of emphasis.

Get Wet

I’ve posted before that Chiefs of Police in social media are like cats in cold water. Scary to watch as they enter, but doable. Efforts like the Global Tweet-a-Thon help warm the water in the social media tub.

If I was to encourage law enforcement to hop or tip a toe into the waters of social media, I simply need to refer to the Power of 1; #poltwt. Read for yourself. A body of knowledge has been developed for best practice policies for taking the plunge into social media.

The waters are no longer murky. People like Lauri Stevens and many others around this globe continue to push and practice the best of what working together through transparent and immediate information sharing produces.

Personal Influence of Social Media  

Earlier I posted about the “Stretch of Social Media” and then reposted an update titled the “Blessings of Social Media.” A young officer & friend was diagnosed with leukemia, and after battling through, he emerged victorious.

He sent a picture of himself holding a piece of paper simply reading “I Beat Cancer.” I asked my PIO to post it to our Facebook with a prayer of thanks. It went viral reaching almost a million people.

While Beyoncé and the Lebron James draw a million daily likes over posts about breakfast jelly, we serve in a mid-size city in south Louisiana. The Power of 1 post in giving thanks for this officer stretches beyond that simple paper sign.

What might a cop from Cajun Country have in common with a 12-year-old boy from the UK? The Power of 1#SuperJosh. This hash tag connects me to a social media superstar loved and supported by cops literally around the world. They even dance  the gangnam for him.

Another Brother in Blue, @SgtGaryWatts serves his community, and through social media, supports his friend #SuperJosh who suffers neuromuscular disabilities. Yes, I think it’s the Sergeant @gangnam999 doing the dance moves.

Cats to Water No More

What have I gotten myself into? A wonderful community of amazing people no longer limited by time, distance or communications. Sincerely engaging one another through the various social media platforms builds a network, a community, and an opportunity to step out of that tub, and dive into an exciting ocean. The Power of 1; #poltwt.

Did you participate or follow the World-Wide Virtual Police Tour? What are your thoughts about policing in social media? How often should we do #poltwt (more than once per year?). What should we do differently? Please contribute your thoughts on these questions below.

Related articles

Chief Scott Silverii

Scott Silverii is the Chief of Police in Thibodaux, Louisiana. He is also the author of A Darker Shade of Blue. His blog is Bright Blue Line.

Reflections on #poltwt

Image tweeted by @russwebt during #poltwt

A quite amazing thing happened on Friday 22 March that brought the law enforcement and policing community closer together. The world became a smaller place thanks to social media and a special event. But putting all the charts and graphs aside, what did it actually achieve?

The global police Twitter day, known by the hashtag #poltwt, was developed by Lauri Stevens and involved more than 200 law enforcement agencies and individuals which is quite an achievement. The stated purpose was to highlight the work of officers around the world but also to show how they are using social media to support policing activities. This was done from 8am on 22 March 2013 around the world.

For me it was an exciting day that brought with it some highlights and was a show of strength by bringing officers together from many countries. It was another step on the path of demonstrating to colleagues what can be achieved by using social media, and showing that it really is now part of frontline policing. Discovering and using social media is a journey and within any organisation people will be moving at different speeds along the road. Events such as the global Twitter day can help to accelerate things for some people.

Reading the tweets from around the world was fascinating as it highlighted both similarities and differences. There were some common themes:
• everyone wanted to make a difference and improve lives
• conversations and communication were seen as essential
• residents wanted to know more about policing and local officers
• photographs of dogs and horses are always welcome!

The interest in the event was evident in the tweets that were received and the level of involvement people wanted to have. In Greater Manchester Police we saw people sending message throughout the day, asking questions during a two-hour session, and being keen to learn more about what each of the neighbourhood policing teams were doing. It was great to see not just police officers taking part. Local people wanted to get involved by making their voice heard. This was also seen with the latest community reporters taking their time to go on patrol with GMP neighbourhood officers. They were then able to add their own perspective onto global police twitter day.

It was 24 hours that brought the world of policing and law enforcement closer together and helped to develop the conversations between officers and the people they serve. I am sure there will be more to come now that the world has been made a little smaller.

Final results of #poltwt Tweet-a-Thon

BrightPlanet has tallied the final results from the Global Law Enforcement Tweet-a-Thon. Over 200 police departments, from at least 10 countries, speaking 23 languages, participated in a 24-hour “virtual ride-along” on March 22-23. #poltwt was even a top 10 trending topic in the United States on March 22.

A total of 15,621 Twitter users produced 48,482 Tweets using the #poltwt hashtag. In addition to giving the public a “virtual ride-along”, the Tweet-a-Thon showcased the synergistic possibilities when police departments and the public cooperate via social media. Everything from door-to-door scam alerts, road closures, traffic accidents, missing persons, and stolen property were reported using #poltwt. The post even features some of the most humorous tweets we harvested.

By The Numbers

A Quick Snapshot:

48,842 – Total Number of Tweets Harvested with #poltwt Hashtag
18,092 – Total Number of Retweets
15,621 Total Number of Twitter Users
23 – Total Number of Different Languages
11,203,796 – Total Outreach (Total of all 15,621 users followers)


Drumroll please…at the end of the Tweet-a-Thon, the “Most Vocal” Awards go to:

@NYorksPolice – 568 tweets
@mapwinn0605 – 484 tweets
@lawscomm – 289 tweets
@CalgaryPolice – 209 tweets
@GMPBlackley – 205 tweets
@HaltonPolice – 186 tweets


The Twitter handles most mentioned within the results were:

@CalgaryPolice – 918 mentions
@gmpolice – 841 mentions
@NYorksPolice -662 mentions
@lawscomm – 407 mentions
@hantsyotcop – 355 mentions
@FBIPressOffice – 316 mentions


Our top Twit Pics featured a number of a fashion police memes, canine department members, and some reminders about your local police officers.

Fashion Police Meme
K9 Unit on Patrol
Meet Mo
Peace Officer Quote
Message to Parents
#Polltwt Location Trending


The most retweeted tweets so far mention everything from theft to a missing child:

RT @hantsyotcop: I’m not the fashion police but this could be an #awkwardmoment you may want to avoid #poltwt http://t.co/52J3ssklIq

RT @GMPNewtonHeath: Male detained in shop in Newton Heath stealing tea bags. Gave his name as Earl Grey #poltwt

RT @FBIPressOffice: Since 1967, police agencies nationwide have used the FBI’s NCIC to check crime records #poltwt http://t.co/FYffghkAU …

RT @OttawaPolice: RT if you promise to always drive sober. #poltwt

RT @CalgaryPolice: Picture just received from our K9 unit on patrol in #yyc. #poltwt. http://t.co/CuiD9OGznB


The iPhone continues to top the list of most-used devices other than computers:

iPhone – 10,116 tweets
Android – 3,971 tweets
iPad – 2,099 tweets
BlackBerry – 1,988 tweets
Windows Phone – 153 tweets


23 different languages have been used in #poltwt tweets with English topping the list:

Other languages included: Turkish, Polish, Thai, Japanese, and Russian

#Poltwt At Work


We found social media at work to find a missing boy from South Australia Police News (@SAPoliceNews).

@SAPoliceNews: Help find 8yo William? Missing in #Nairne maroon shirt, blue jeans. Call 131 444 #adelhills

@SAPoliceNews: William and his mum. He was found safe and sound in the Nairne area. Thank you for your RT #missing #nowfound #poltwt pic.twitter.com/TzjUTPEIVP


@Cumbriapolice: Please note that the A595 at Bolton Low Houses, Wigton is now closed due to the snow. #A595 #cumbria #poltwt

@GMPFailsworth: This fella was stolen last month. The offenders used a chainsaw. Know where he is, give us a call. #poltwt

@GMPWhitefield: #MissingAppeal: 14yr old Sophie Holmes still missing from the Whitefield area Pls RT #poltwt http://t.co/1ZNGfaZR7b

@lincspolice: Missing Boston man found safe last night. Twitter is really useful tool in these cases. Thanks for all RTs #poltwt

@NWmwaypolice: #poltwt – for info, Runcorn/Widnes bridge has been closed due to falling ice, expect delays in and around the area

@HaltonPolice: Burlington homeowner approached by 3 suspicious persons falsely claiming to be from ADT, wanted entrance to home. #poltwt (notice the quick response from the ADT corporate account)


@cheshirepolice: 999 call to report a gate banging in the wind. Please remember 999 is for emergencies. (Not for wind calls)! #poltwt

@CustomsBorder: Hide and seek! CBP found 150 lbs. of #drugs in this truck bed. #poltwt #photooftheday http://t.co/sPnpOc6cLo

@eriealerts: #poltwt EPD McDonalds 4th & State. Drive through patron reporting no service for 5mns. No one at window. Concerned.

@GMPNewtonHeath: Evidence at last: bears do sit in the woods #poltwt http://t.co/w0k1jRHeWn

@ManukauPolice: #poltwt. Don’t lippy and drive. Report of a car swerving over the road while driver applies make up

@PaloAltoPolice: We just saw one of the @google self-driving cars go by us. Gotta love Silicon Valley. #poltwt

@SeattlePD: Det. Mark Jamieson on the Jonas Brothers: “I don’t like those [Jonas Bros.] I’m all about Hanson” #poltwt

@SeattlePD: Stun Gun-Wielding Pregnant Woman Attacks Bike Messenger: http://t.co/eHwOGOhecE #poltwt

@TampaPD: Just stopping a SMART car now driving with no headlights and no taillights on. It’s not that smart. #POLTWT

@TampaPD: Enroute to a report of a naked man running around in traffic…Well this could be interesting #POLTWT #nofreeshowers

@TampaPD: Well officers checked the area and fortunately, for everyone’s sake, we weren’t able to locate the naked man! #POLTWT

@TPSDetBangild: Slower drivers, please use right lane. Careless, aggressive and dangerous drivers, please walk to work. #poltwt

@VTStatePolice: 80 mph is not a safe speed on snowy roads. Ain’t nobody got time for a wreck! #VSPtroopB #poltwt

@WichitaPolice: Disorderly conduct report in area of 3900 E Murdock. Suspect called and said she was “going to cut his face off” #poltwt

@YB_Sodermalm: -”Sir, you are the first person arrested to go in our new police car.” .. -”That’s not bad, how nice of you.” #poltwt

@YB_Sodermalm: A truck driver was surfing on his laptop while he drove his truck. Inappropiate, yes. Illegal, no. Not in Sweden. #poltwt

@YRP: Just received a call of a possum stuck in a resident’s fence. Not an emergency – unless you’re the possum, I guess. #poltwt

Why BrightPlanet?

BrightPlanet has a range of solutions to help state, local, and federal agencies track and find what they need online. BlueJay is a Twitter monitoring tool made specifically for law enforcement. Our Deep Web Intel Silos have also been used by law enforcement to track crime and build cases.

Missing a Trick – a UK perspective on police and social media for #poltwt

A Brief History of Breaking News

Once upon a time, when Newspapers ruled the world, our news was fed to us the day after things had happened.

Television, with its scheduled news bulletins, reduced that delay from days to hours. If an event was important enough, regular viewing would be interrupted with a NEWS FLASH. Short, sweet and usually just a headline – the main coverage would follow in the later news programmes.

Managing the media message was relatively easy for the authorities and the situation was usually over before anyone really got any details of it. A high ranking member of the emergency services could be put in front of the cameras to deliver the message “we have been there and we have dealt with it.”

Stories usually made some kind of sense and everything was in the past tense.

24 hour news channels changed things dramatically. In the absence of a really newsworthy event you were forced to watch the televisual equivalent of Groundhog Day as the same reports were recycled every half an hour until something more important happened.

When something more important did occur, a banner exclaiming BREAKING NEWS would run across the screen and, while reporters were racing to the scene, a holding statement would be read by the presenter with the promise of “more, as soon as we get it”.

When the reporters arrived they would set up and start reporting live. There was no need to interrupt the schedules because news now had its own dedicated channels. Coverage would show emergency services in action whilst the presenter tried to find witnesses to interview.

Press conferences became more important but the message changed subtly to “we are there and we are dealing with it.”

Then came 9/11. This was the first time in history that a major disaster was broadcast live. You could barely believe that the first plane had hit when you watched in slow motion as the second one followed suit.

Nobody had the first clue as to what the hell was going on. Well – they did – they could see it happening before their eyes but none of it made any sense. The TV networks struggled to keep up with events. All the millions of bewildered viewers had to go on was what they could actually see plus the wild and fevered speculations of the presenters.

Fear was being broadcast into people’s living rooms in real time.

No amount of careful media management would ever be able to cope with an event of this magnitude but it serves to illustrate that sometimes you can just lose control.

9/11 changed our lives in 2001. A mere three years later a phenomenon was born which changed the rules once more. Social Media. 9/11 took place in a city which was home to more cameras than probably any other place on earth, but social media now turned every smartphone into its own window on the world.

Anybody and everybody could find themselves suddenly creating the news. A regular reporter or journalist was unlikely ever to be the “first on the scene” again.

Social Media allows raw, uncensored pictures and comments to be circulated to an unsuspecting audience within seconds of an event taking place. Instantly. No restrictions, no editorial control.

The message that the emergency services now have to manage is “we’re not there and we’re not dealing with it yet.”

Getting it Right – Social Media in a Crisis

In January 2013, a helicopter struck a crane and crashed directly onto a London city street.

I live hundreds of miles away from London but within minutes pictures of the event erupted onto my Twitter feed. These pictures were taken within seconds of the incident and revealed a scene of complete carnage. There were no emergency services personnel in the pictures. They hadn’t yet arrived. I would be surprised if the first Twitter picture didn’t go into circulation before the end of the first 999 (911) call.

Then came the speculation. Was it a terrorist attack? Was it a plane? Was another flying object going to fall out of the sky?

The helicopter crash was the first real test of social media in an emergency in the UK since the riots of summer 2011, on which occasion (with a couple of notable exceptions such as Greater Manchester) most police forces were caught on the hop.

Twitter and BBM were used by rioters to fuel the rioting. An open channel from the scene had once been the preserve of the police with their sophisticated encrypted radios but they no longer had the edge. Police were outmanoeuvred by rioters with Nokias and Blackberrys.

Fortunately, in London 2013, the authorities got it exactly right.

Very quickly, my timeline filled not just with rumour but with official information. Local police stations such as @MPSWandsworth the fire service, the ambulance service, the rail networks and others began to tweet what they knew and what they were doing. They retweeted each others’ information and soon smothered the speculation.

You can read my full analysis of how events and commentary unfolded HERE

There was no time to wait for official guidance or for an approved media message. Frontline officers trusted with use of social media used their experience, common sense and did a magnificent job.

Unfortunately, the use of social media across the police forces of the UK is inconsistent so if a similar incident were to happen anywhere else, there is no guarantee that this text-book response would be repeated.

Getting it Right – Social Media as Community Engagement

Social Media is not just valuable in major events and incidents. Used properly it can be an incredible community engagement tool. Much time is spent wondering how to reach “hard to reach groups” – social media is one such route and you ignore it at your peril.

The best police accounts in the UK are those which engage in dialogue. It is no coincidence that these also have the largest followings.

Two fine examples are @MPSinthesky the Twitter account of the Metropolitan (London) Police Air Support Unit – and @SolihullPolice based in the West Midlands.

@MPSinthesky tweets 24 hours a day. It explains why the helicopter is in the air and it “talks” to followers on the ground.

“Why are you above my house?” says worried follower
“We are looking for a missing person” comes the reply

“Ah good” says follower “no axe murderer for me to worry about then. Can I help?”

@SolihullPolice are probably best known for their legendary “cannabis tweet” of December 2012.

“Anyone lost a huge amount of cannabis in the Chelmsley Wood area? Don’t panic, we found it. Please come to the police station to collect it”

The tweet went viral. This is how social media is supposed to be – human, engaging and responsive.

Many forces are still getting this wrong. They use social media as a notice board. The “conversation” is more “monologue”: a means to broadcast messages but without responding to comments which follow.

We have christened this “Vanilla Tweeting.” Bland, beige, boring tweets alerting us to the next local public meeting or reminding everyone to lock their doors and windows. Overuse of corporately approved words like “robustly” and “stakeholders” which look like they were posted by a Bot.

These messages can be important and they do have a place but these forces are missing the point of social media: it is supposed to be a conversation.

If I were walking the beat would I do so in silence, carrying a notice board covered with crime prevention leaflets I can point at? No! I would talk to people, chat to them, answer their questions, listen to what they have to say. Social media should be no different.

If I am trusted to go to a public meeting to represent the police and talk about policing matters why can’t I be trusted to do the same on Twitter or Facebook?

The Fear

National guidance on police use of social media has been issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) but it is up to the chief officer of any individual force to decide if social media is to be used and who can use it.

Some chiefs use it personally and allow their staff to do so freely.
Others don’t and refuse to allow their staff to engage freely either, preferring instead to allow access only to a couple of press officers. The force might have an official account but individual officers do not.

I believe there are three principal reasons why some chief officers are reluctant to embrace social media:

1. With the best will in the world some just don’t “get it” and will need to be convinced of its value.
2. There is a fear of loss of control of message. Everything has to be corporate.
3. There is a fear that some of their officers will damage the reputation of the force by tweeting things they shouldn’t.

There is some justification for these concerns but nothing which couldn’t be countered by effective training, guidance and support.

Police officers in the UK are subject to a number of occupation- related restrictions on their private lives. They are not allowed to be “actively engaged in politics” for example. The discipline code also creates offences of bringing the service into disrepute or undermining public confidence in the police.

Over the last two years the UK government has imposed unprecedented reform on the police service. At a force level, governance has been restructured and budgets have been slashed. Officers have had their pay and pensions reduced and their terms and conditions of service changed. It would be an understatement to suggest that none of this has gone down well.

UK police officers cannot strike and are not permitted to be members of a trade union, so a number of officers have turned to social media to vent their frustration. Some chose to do this with their official hats on and, in a few cases, this has led to formal disciplinary action.

It has also created a new breed of police tweeter – the anonymous.

Behind the Mask

There are three types of anonymous police tweeter:

1. The Casual – someone who identifies themselves as a police officer but mostly talks about other things and occasionally joins in with police related debate.
2. The Safe – those who blog and tweet about police related matters but who try to stay the right side of the discipline code.
3. The Risk-taker – those who blog or tweet exactly what they think. No holds barred. Often openly critical of government, senior officers and sometimes the public.

In the grand scheme of things it is Type 3 who holds most fear for senior officers.

I am only anonymous because I have to be. My force doesn’t allow officers to tweet on its behalf. So instead, I hide behind a Darth Vader mask. I talk about incidents or issues which affect me and my colleagues but I don’t talk about specifics. I don’t say where I am and I don’t name names. I use Twitter because I want to promote debate. I would like to classify myself as a Type 2 but that is for others to decide.

Anonymity is not a licence to say what you like.

A Matter of Trust

To work on the assumption that everyone is going to go rogue and be a Type 3 tweeter is somewhat unfair.

The answer is not to prevent everyone from using social media “just in case” but to allow everyone to use it until such time as that trust has to be withdrawn. If something goes wrong, deal with the individual.

The chances are that the vast majority of those who want to use social media will respect the guidance and rules. If they don’t – don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Some officers have stopped using Twitter because they fear for their jobs if they get it wrong by mistake – such an atmosphere is oppressive.

Police forces are missing a trick if they don’t engage properly on social media. It is not the only way to talk to people and it doesn’t replace face to face contact but if I want to get a message out quickly to thousands of people, I can do so in seconds. I send it once and others retweet it.

The hard bit seems to be convincing some senior officers of its value and helping them get over their reluctance.

This fear is not universal: some senior officers are ahead of the game. I can say it no better than the Chief Constable of Leicestershire, Simon Cole, (@CCLeicsPolice) who says this:

“I trust my officers with an ASP baton, CS Spray, handcuff and firearms. I should be able to trust them with a smartphone.”

We have seen that social media can be used in a crisis and we have seen the popularity of those accounts which use it as a conversation and community engagement tool.

The public use it freely and in many places the police don’t – and that – for me – is a tremendous shame.

My heartfelt thanks, as ever to the wonderful Rachel Rogers @DorsetRachelfor editing this blog.

Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Nathan Constable and I am a serving police officer in the United Kingdom. Actually – that isn’t exactly true. I am a serving officer but that’s not my real name. Nathan Constable is a pseudonym. The use of social media by serving UK cops is still something of an issue hence me hiding behind a mask – more on that later. I have worked within policing since 1994 and I am an Inspector in an English force. For those reading Stateside who may be unfamiliar with our rank structure that makes me roughly a Lieutenant.

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