Saturday 23 April 2011

Warwickshire Police Twitter Project - Launches Today #WPTP

Send this Tweet #WPTP
The new Warwickshire Policing Model comes into operation on Monday 9 May 2011. There will be 33 Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) throughout Warwickshire - not one of them has a Twitter Account to embrace a community.

There are over 1,000 Warwickshire Police Officers and PCSOs - not one of them has an Twitter Account. If there are any - I cannot find them. I've been looking for the last four months. 

From today, whatsinKenilworth are launching the Warwickshire Police Twitter Project #WPTP. The Warwickshire Police Authority have a section on their website called Community Engagement which states,
'The Police Authority has a duty to consult the public. Moreover, we are committed to listening to your views so we know how you feel about policing in your area. To this end, we have placed community engagement at the heart of what we do: recognising that more engaged policing is more effective policing...If you choose to talk to us, you are having your say on the future of Warwickshire Police. In addition, you can contribute through surveys, forums, events and conferences as well as through direct contact by phone, e-mail and post.'
Sir Robert Peel
This does not say anything about Social Media and especially Twitter. Community Forums are held four times a year, so once every three months is grossly inadequate (and poorly attended). The WPA also quote Sir Robert Peel,
'Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
In 1827, when Sir Robert Peel said that, he didn't mention Social Media either - had he known about Twitter, I am sure he would have included it in his statement. I like to think the chain from his waistcoat is attached to a Blackberry or an early iPhone.

What you can do? There are 535,100 people living in Warwickshire. The first step is to send a tweet to @WarwickshirePA or @warkspolice to be heard:
@WarwickshirePA I would like to see my Community Police SNT Officer/PCSO on Twitter ASAP ...Warwickshire Police Twitter Project #WPTP
@warkspolice I would like to see my Community Police SNT Officer/PCSO on Twitter ASAP from the Warwickshire Police Twitter Project #WPTP 
And I will do the rest by contacting all 33 safer Neighbourhood teams and seeing who is first Officer or PCSO to join this project. I understand NO ONE wants to be the first person from Warwickshire Police actively using Twitter to Tweet From The Beat.

West Midlands Police neighbour Warwickshire and have over 200 Twitter Accounts. The next post in this project will feature some key West Midlands Police twitter accounts, explaining how they are used in the community they serve.

My theory is - if the people ask, the authority will listen and provide. The cost for this service is zero - computers and smart phones are everywhere. The tipping point is attitude not resource.

Extract of an email sent to some Police Partner Organisations:
I am very keen to open a conversation with you Re: Warwickshire Police and the use of Social Media. As hyperlocal digital media, we have been working with West Midlands Police with Twitter and Twitcam (real time video). 
However, NO ONE from Warwickshire Police is using this Twitter or any (as yet). There are twitter accounts, but only generic forms like @warkspolice and @WarwickshirePA.
From attending the Police Authority meeting at Shire Hall yesterday, we understand there no plans are for any more social media use. This comes at a time when there are cuts and some safer neighbourhood team offices have yet to be decided.
In my view, there has not been a better time for officers and PCSOs to open a twitter account and embrace their community. To prove this, I intent to invite the public to make their voices heard on how they choose to communicate with their Police Force. Community Forums that are held every three months and inadequate in this digital age.
Finally, we understand there are officers in Warwickshire that do want to engage but NO ONE wants to be the first to 'put their head above the parapet.' We can offer our assistance to help in any way I can. Kind Regards, Mike Downes 

1 comment:

  1. Warwickshire Police is an old and historic constabulary with heeps of history and set in an idylic country house (for now - but thats another subject). Its easy to imagine the land and gentry of the 18th century - and that is I'm afraid where the attitude of the force is set.
    The mention of social media is enough to send senior officers scurrying for their abacus and edition of County Ligfe magazine.
    Media sites such as Facebook are controlled by a veil of fear as the Proffessional Standards Dept ( Internal complaints) patrol this looking for officers who dare to post pictures of themselves in anything resembling uniform or makking comment on the force. As such it drives many individual accounts underground. Many others decide its too much like hassle and actually dont have accounts at all.
    Certainly any "Official Accounts" would be very heavily censored.
    I remember some years ago a Police Dog called Toby had a website - However this was really only a PR exercise to warn people to stay away from Global Gathering ( a music dance festival) if they had drugs. It was not meant to be encourage any social interaction and the handler of the dog had no input into the website.
    So what is the problem with Facebook then ? Warwickshire claim to be open, honest, ethical ?
    Well the problem is that it gives the public TOO MUCH say. If you critisise an organisation on Facebook using their page then its there for all to see. Warwickshire Police and no doubt other forces do not want you to see other people pointing out their poor performance, Instead they would rather blind you with the hype of how reducing police numbers, closing police stations etc will improve their service to you. Cant see it myself !
    Back to Facebook though - imagine if 1000 people joined the police's site as "friends" Say a number of those people were not satisfied with the service they were given and chose to tell them directly. Everyone in that 1000 people would be able to see this and in turn would reduce public confidence. This is the last thing Senior officers want you too see... trust me


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