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I'm sorry Sir, it's against the law

I’m sorry Sir, it’s against the law

There are plenty of arcane, not to say bizarre laws in the UK.

  • MPs aren’t aware of wear armour in parliament.
  • You can’t beat or shake a carpet rug in any street in the Metropolitan Police District.
  • It’s illegal to import Polish potatoes (put on the Statute Book in 2004)

For more examples, see here.

Some of the laws don’t prohibit behaviour but officially sanction it:

Like the right to drive sheep across London Bridge as freemen of the City of London

Or the right for pregnant women to relieve themselves anywhere they see fit.

However, as usual, we must acknowledge the superiority of our US friends when it comes to the wild and wacky category:

See the infographic below to find out:


Strangest Laws Still in Effect Today

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


Global Police Tweet-a-thon, the sequel

Next Global Police Tweet-a-thon is November 1st!

History in the making
March 22nd of this year was an epic day for law enforcement. It was the day over 200 law enforcement agencies all across the western hemisphere took to Twitter for 24 hours or a portion thereof to tweet about their work. With the hashtag #poltwt, we trended from New Zealand west to Australia, across Europe and then from the east coast of North America  in a wave across to the west coast.

On November 1st, will make history one again. In March, we reached over 11M people with 48,842 tweets in 23 different languages. We hope to make the next #poltwt ever bigger.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, Nov 1st until 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov 2nd, in your local timezone, tweet any or all of the 24 hours.

The Objective
The overall purpose of the tweet-a-thon is to call attention to policing as well as to police use of social media. Each agency sets its own goals beyond that and tweets whatever portion of the 24 hours that works for you.

The only “rule” is that ever tweet contains the hashtag #poltwt

To sign up:

Email Lauri Stevens at lauri@lawscomm.net

Use subject line: #poltwt

In the message, indicate your Twitter name, your agency name, your physical address (so we can accurately place you on the Google map). If you plan to tweet as an individual officer, give us all of the above and also let us know you’re tweeting as yourself. All emails should come from your government/police address.


2013 ConnectedCOPS Awards Winners Announced

LAwS Communications Announces the Winners of the International ConnectedCOPS Awards

 Recipients announced in eight categories at The SMILE Conference in Omaha, Neb.

Omaha, NE – October 01, 2013 – The winners of the second annual ConnectedCOPS™ Awards were announced last week at the SMILE Conference® in Omaha, Nebraska. The awards program began last year and immediately became highly sought after by law officers using social media in police operations.

“It is still very rare for law enforcement to understand the true depths of engagement they can achieve with social media,” said Lauri Stevens, founder of LAwS Communications and the ConnectedCOPS Awards. “The winners of the ConnectedCOPS awards are the people and agencies who are at the forefront of this realization. So in turn they set the bar and they set it very high for their peers. Through these awards, I hope we’re able to signal to others that social media isn’t about checking a box, but rather should be approached with proactive strategy and strong governance. If we succeed, law enforcement can become more transparent but also more efficient and potentially put more bad guys behind bars.”

From L to R is Sergeant Thorir Ingvarsson, Reykjavik Metropolitan Police (Excellence at a Large Agency); Superintendent Gary Askin, Waterloo Regional Police; Lindsay Charlesworth, Waterloo Regional Police (Social Media Campaign); Sean Stephenson, Calgary Police (Social Media Event Management); Detective Sam Palmer, Phoenix Police (Social Media Investigator); Bridget Fitzpatrick, Omaha Police (Civilian Award of Excellence); Lieutenant Christopher Cook, Arlington, TX (Social Media Leadership)
Not pictured: Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, Toronto Police (Social Media Top Cop); Bernard Keyworth, North West Motorway Group (Excellence at a Small Agency)

The 2013 ConnectedCOPS Awards winners in eight categories are:

Social Media Award of Excellence at a Large Agency – Reykjavik Police, Iceland

“We are honored to receive this important and prestigious award, not to mention when we see who else were nominated and how many police departments around the world are doing great things in the field,” said Stefan Eriksson, Chief of Police of the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police. “The use of social media has been an important aspect of information sharing for the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police but importantly also in maintaining a relationship with the citizens in the last few years. The key to our success in the field has been in how people have embraced this new type of communication and have been willing to participate. Therefore it has been crucial to realize that social media is not a one way street but a town square, where the police and the people they serve can converse and work together.” 

Social Media Award of Excellence at a Small Agency – North West Motorway Police Group, United Kingdom

“It was a unexpected surprise to receive international recognition for the NWMPG’s use of social media, particularly as we have only been using it, to improve policing on the Region’s motorways, for just over a year,” said Bernard Keyworth, a supervisor from the NWMPG.

Social Media Leadership Award – Lieutenant Christopher Cook, Arlington, TX Police, United States

“I want to thank our outstanding citizens for connecting with the Arlington Police Department through social media,” said Christopher Cook, Arlington Police. “Furthermore, I want to give credit to Police Chief Will Johnson for his commitment to social media strategies and my team of employees who work tirelessly to bring innovative and exciting content to all of our platforms. It’s truly a humbling experience and honor to be recognized as a pioneer in law enforcement social media.”

Social Media Civilian Award of Excellence – Bridget Fitzpatrick, Omaha, NE Police, United States

“It is an honor to be recognized by the SMILE Conference judges,” said Bridget Fitzpatrick, Omaha Police. “This award is a reflection not only of my work but also of the work of the staff of PIO’s for the Omaha Police Department, and more importantly the progressive mindset of Chief Todd Schmaderer. Without his support and encouragement, OPD would not be excelling as well in the social media world.”

Social Media Top Cop Award – Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, Toronto Police, ON, Canada

“The SMILE Conference social media Top Cop award is an honor but more a reflection of the inspiration that TPS trail blazers like Scott Mills, Tim Burrows and Ritesh Kotak have had on me,” said Peter Sloly, Toronto Police. “I wanted to use my rank and role in the TPS to enlighten and empower other officers to use social media to improve public safety, public service and public trust. The Top Cop award validates those efforts. I am indebted to Lauri Stevens and The SMILE Conference for giving me both the technical competence and strategic confidence to build the TPS social media strategy. Lauri gets a big assist for this Top Cop award.”

Social Media Investigator Award (Sponsored by LexisNexis) – Detective Sam Palmer, Phoenix Police, United States

“I am very honored to receive the ConnectedCOPS Social Media Investigator of the year award and look forward to being part of a trend in law enforcement,” said Sam Palmer, Phoenix Police. “Using technology based investigative techniques to help solve crimes is a new direction in law enforcement. It is cutting edge and exciting and I am proud to be part of it.”

Social Media Event Management Award – Calgary Police, AB, Canada

“The Strategic Communications Unit was working 24 hours a day without knowing how long it would be necessary to continue,” said Sean Stephenson, Calgary Police. “While I accept this award on behalf of the Calgary Police Service, I must acknowledge and thank my team for their efforts round the clock on the day the flood hit and the weeks that followed, and all Calgarians for their support and for taking our messages and moving them from social media to social groups.”

Social Media Campaign Management Award – Waterloo Regional Police, ON, Canada

“It is such an honor to be recognized for this award. Social Media has proven to be an incredible weapon for police to engage, educate, inform and connect with our community,” said Gary Askin, Waterloo Regional Police. “We are fortunate and grateful to Lauri Stevens and SMILE/Connected Cops to have created an environment where we can all learn from each other and force multiply our presence to enhance community safety, everywhere.”

For more information on the ConnectedCOPS Awards, please visit http://ConnectedCOPS.net/ConnectedCOPSAwards.

About LAwS Communications

LAwS Communications has been providing interactive media advice to law enforcement since 2005. Open Source communication technologies available today allow organizations to efficiently gather and distribute information like never before. LAwS Communications works with law enforcement professionals to help make sense of the tools available, help agencies craft a plan and social media policy as well as provide the training needed. LAwS Communications can help law enforcement organizations not only understand why an agency should take advantage of social media technologies, but also how to leverage these vast resources. LAwS Communications is located in Newbury, Massachusetts. It is a subsidiary of Stevens & Associates Inc.

For more information, please visit http://lawscommunications.com.



Lauri Stevens

LAwS Communications

(978) 764-9887


PR Contact:

Nicole Fait

Public Communications Worldwide

(714) 891-3660


Police pin down criminals

Pinteresting times

At the last count, there were 70 million registered Pinterest users with just over 2 million in the UK.

Most people use Pinterest to browse retail stores or indulge their interest in fashion, food and drink, or their own particular hobby or passion – be it tattoos or Moorish architecture.

I tend to use it as a way of storing and sharing infographics relating to my work interests – social media, drugs and crime.

But Pinterest has other uses too, it’s become sufficiently popular for police forces all over the world to adopt it, for a wide range of purposes.

Locating the owners of stolen property

A recent post by Inspector Roger Nield (@rogernield2703) on this site describes how Surrey police in the UK used Pinterest to return a large quantity of watches and jewellery recovered from a search at a burglar’s home.

Police officers realised that it could be very difficult to locate the owners of the stolen goods since property was often poorly described on crime reports and the burglaries had taken place in several counties.

So they decided to use social media to help.

While some officers searched for all recorded burglaries committed using their arrestee’s particular MO, others took photos of each piece of jewellery and uploaded them to the Surrey police Pinterest board.

Police then wrote to every known possible victim providing a link to the Pinterest board.

This enabled possible victims to peruse the board in their own time.

Victims who weren’t sure whether an item was actually theirs could liaise with police around serial numbers, receipts and other evidence of ownership.

Interestingly, some victims who found one stolen item subsequently returned to the Pinterest board and found others.

Surrey police are confident that they have not been deceived and that only actual victims have had their, often much treasured, jewellery returned.

The Victoria Police Department in British Columbia, Canada have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to stolen goods whose owners they are trying to find.


Pinterest stolen property


Finding wanted criminals

The local paper in Pottstown Pennsylvania – The Pottstown Mercury – posts photos of  suspects wanted by the police in a number of local areas. Local police supply mugshots which are then uploaded onto the Mercury’s Pinterest Board.


Pinterest wanted people


Locating missing people

In the same way, the Kansas City Police Department maintains a Pinterest Board of local missing persons.

Sharing information about street drugs 

Kansas City Police Department also maintains a whole host of Pinterest boards.

One provides details about unsolved homicides.

Another shares images of street drugs and paraphernalia with the purpose of helping local people, particularly parents, identify substances and put them in a position to have a conversation with children/other loved ones about any drugs they might be using. The board also provides links to effective ways of talking to children about drugs.


Pinterest drugs



For police services all over the world, Pinterest is beginning to provide the same sort of opportunities as Twitter and Facebook (for latest police social media practice in Europe, see this series of posts).

It enables police to have a much greater reach into local communities and share information at minimal cost.

Police can use social media to broadcast information, request intelligence and, now with Pinterest, provide a better service for victims of crime.


If you know of other police uses of Pinterest, please let me know in the comments section below.

Who's SMILE'n in Omaha

With two weeks until the next SMILE Conference® in Omaha, this is a list of the police agencies and companies sending at least one person to the conference. The SMILE Conference is hosted by Chief Todd Schmaderer and the men and women of the Omaha Police Department. Our keynotes include Deputy Chief Peter Sloly of Toronto Police and Commissioner Peter Muyshondt of the Belgian Police. Our second day will focus on event management from floods to viral videos to line of duty deaths and our third day features presentations from all three of our finalists in the Social Media Investigator category of the ConnectedCOPS Awards.

We will also explore social media monitoring, engagement, strategy and reputation management. There’s still time to register. Get a discount code from any of our exhibitors or LawOfficer.com.

  • Airbnb, Inc., CA
  • Arcadia Police Department, CA
  • Arlington PD, TX
  • Atlanta Police Department, GA
  • Aurora Police Department, NE
  • BAIR Analytics Inc.
  • Barrie Police Service, ON
  • Belgian Local Police, Belgium
  • Bellevue Police Department, NE
  • Bismarck Police Department, ND
  • Bismarck, ND, City of
  • Borders Limited, Nigeria
  • Boston College Police Department, MA
  • BrightPlanet, SD
  • Calgary Police Service, AB
  • Cape Coral Police Department, FL
  • Cobourg Police Service, ON
  • Crime Stoppers USA
  • Department of Justice/FBI, VA
  • Dover Police, DE
  • Geofeedia, Inc., IL
  • Hall County Sheriff’s Office, NE
  • Harris County Sheriff, TX
  • Helsinki Police Department, Finland
  • Houston Police, TX
  • IES Group/Media Sonar, ON
  • Iowa Department of Public Saftey- Division of Intelligence, IA
  • Iowa State University Police Department, IA
  • Johnson County Sheriff, KS
  • Kansas City Police Department, MO
  • La Vista Police Department, NE
  • LexisNexis
  • Longview Police Department, TX
  • Los Angeles Police Department, CA
  • Massachusetts State Police, MA
  • Milwaukee Police Department, WI
  • MusterPoint
  • NE Game & Parks/Law Enforcement, NE
  • Nebraska State Patrol, NE
  • New Castle County Police Department, DE
  • New Westminster Police Department, BC
  • Norfolk Police Department, VA
  • NYPD, Sergeants Benevolent Association, NY
  • Oakland County Sheriff, MI
  • O’Fallon Police Department, MO
  • Omaha Police Department, NE
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Office, FL
  • Peel Regional Police Service, ON
  • Peoria Police Department, AZ
  • Phoenix Police Department, AZ
  • Prince William County Police Department, VA
  • Real Time Crisis Intervetion
  • Regina Police Service, SK
  • Reykjavík Metropolitan Police, Iceland
  • Rhode Island State Police, RI
  • Round Rock Police Department, TX
  • San Mateo Police Department, CA
  • Tampa Police Department, FL
  • Tempe Police Department, AZ
  • Toronto Police Service, ON
  • Univ. of Nebraska – Lincoln Police, NE
  • Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, CA
  • Vermillion Police Department, SD
  • Waterloo Regional Police Service, ON
  • Winnipeg Police Service, MB
  • Winter Park Police Dept, FL
  • York Regional Police, ON
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