Police On Facebook And Twitter

29 May 2011, 06:00

Police have been telling Heart why setting up their own facebook and twitter accounts can help them get more information out to people.

In the past week, the 1000th 'fan' joined the Norfolk Constabulary’s Facebook page which was then followed by its 2000th follower on Twitter.

Suffolk Police also has more than 1000 fans on their facebook page.

The social networking sites, as well as the video-sharing website YouTube, are now used daily by the forces to provide the public with direct updates and to discuss local issues.

Norfolk Police has been telling Heart that while ‘tweeting’ to local communities is a relatively new trend in police communications, its influence is already being felt.

Earlier this month a single 'tweet' on Twitter, appealing for information on a missing teenager in Norwich, reached more than 13,000 people online in the space of half an hour.

Deputy Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: "The potential of social media cannot be underestimated. We can now keep people informed and hold virtual conversations about policing issues - all at the touch of a button.

People have changed the way they want to communicate and we need to keep pace to help us stay in tune with local needs. It’s an effective, low-cost addition to our traditional community engagement work and there are plans to further develop this in the near future."

Both forces use social media, alongside traditional communications to issue updates, warning and appeals.

Norfolk Police also says by using Twitter they can provide up-to-the-minute bulletins during major police operations.

In February, Norfolk police 'tweeted' a series of updates during a high-profile firearms operation in Attleborough, and earlier this month in Norwich, in an effort to control speculation and reassure the local community.

Appeals link followers direct to CCTV stills or images on the Norfolk police website, where further information can be found.