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.”
Our last podcast helped stir things up a bit. The Bishop of Birmingham’s intervention on behalf of Diversity Networks in Birmingham was reflected on the news site The Stirrer where supporters and critics of the networks also began to get to grips with some of the issues.
This time we have another podcast from the Grassroots Channel on the future of community networks in Birmingham, including thoughts from Chris Dyer of the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership, plus we hear from actress Lisa Tarbuck in Brierley Hill on hoodies, adolescence, the National Youth Theatre and stronger communities.
The Bishop of Birmingham has thrown his weight behind the community networks run by the Birmingham Community Empowerment Network. The programme has just seen it’s funding cut for this year, with not guarantee of funding after September 2007.
Speaking at yesterday’s conference “Thriving In Diversity”, the Rt Reverend David Urquhart said that the work already done to establish networks in Birmingham must not go to waste. He says “The diversity networks are making a real contribution to the decisions that are made (in the city), so that we get a better quality of life for everyone,” adding that if the city is to continue benefiting from the networks “there will need to be some serious commitment from those in power”. To listen to more of the bishop’s comments please click on the play button below.
Yesterday B:cen, in a report called Thriving in Diversity, said that for Diversity and Community networks to continue to benefit Birmingham, the city (through the Birmingham Stategic Partnership) would need to find at least £1.4 million pounds a year.
Disclosure: the Grassroots Channel Podcast has been funded by b:cen since it was established in Autumn 2005. If you have any comments on the podcast then please e mail us.