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.