Category: Policing

Community building through social media – how police building relationships online can get you support when it really matters

Screenshot: PC Stanley's Twitter page

Recently I was having a conversation with Nick about the value of social media, the community links you can build using Twitter and blogs and the value this has in the real world, when I remembered the story of PC Richard Stanley’s blog.

PC Stanley is a blogging police officer and Twitter user from Walsall. He uses these platforms to talk to the “locals” about his job and help give plain English examples of how the police work and why things are done in a certain way sometimes. I read his blog, follow him on Twitter and have personally never found him to be anything less than factual and informative with some nice humorous banter, creme eggs, #foxwatch and competitions thrown into the mix.

A couple of months ago he wrote a piece in response to a news article in the national press where a suspected burglar was shot during an incident and the property owner who had shot him was arrested.

It was a factual piece that explained, from a policing point of view, why sometimes the “victim” of the burglary can also end up being arrested along with the burglar in cases like this. It was written so that it would be easy for the public to digest – and I felt it was. It was informative without being patronising and a good insight into how a decision to arrest someone could be made.

However, what wasn’t easy for regular readers to digest was what happened next. His blog’s comment section exploded with anonymous commentators condescending and, in some cases, outright insulting PC Stanley. It wasn’t an argument about the accuracy of any details in the blog but an inference he was doing something wrong by engaging in this way and “toeing the party line.”

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A quick and simple public sector reform to save some money

Please government can we stagger end of financial years?  Can Local Government end theirs in April, Central Government in July, the NHS in October, etc etc  – can publicly funded organisations like social landlords do something similar too?

Public money can and does get wasted in the unruly rush to the end of March.  You could improve that.

5 reasons why we trust the internet more than we do government.

Which of the following institutions do you trust?
Which of the following institutions do you trust? - blue means not all all, yellow a little, red a lot

We trust the internet more than we do government. That seems to be what this survey from The Guardian is telling us.  (Yes it is only one survey – so I understand).

The image above represent part of the answer to the question “Which of the following institutions do you trust?” – blue means not all all, yellow a little, red a lot.  It tells us far more people trust the internet a little than they do all of our major layers of government (and the press).

What might be going on here?:

  1. Perhaps people are expressing trust for the relationships they make on the internet? 89% of people responded to another part of the survey by saying they trust their friends (only 73% said the same of spouse/partner!).
  2. Are we more likely to trust things we find on the net a little because we have choice there?  We can go to other bits of the net to find a better version of what we need.  We can’t do that with government.
  3. As a development of the above, we are in control on the net – we navigate the journey. How true is that of government?
  4. When government lets us down it tends to do it in a more meaningful way than a web page which doesn’t load fast enough or spouts garbage. With government much more closely involved in important things in out life we’re more likely to feel strongly about it.
  5. It’s no surprise few people trust the internet a lot – the internet is not an institution. In fact asking people to compare the internet with the EU is a bit daft.

Of course it could just be wrong?

Why maps will become THE way we pool very local information.

I think it is only a matter of time before we switch from hyperlocal blogging to hyperlocal “mapping”.

Below is a short TED2010 talk from Blaise Aguera y Arcas of Microsoft Live Labs.

He is demonstrating augmented-reality mapping technology from Microsoft. It’s quite a substantial extension from where Google appears to be just at the moment and shows glimpses of great possibilities.

If you serve neighbourhoods,  interested in very local media or work for a news organisation, whether press, web or broadcast then it may be worth sparing a few minutes to watch this: