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UK Police Force Posts All Its Calls On Twitter 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the 140-crimes dept.
Stoobalou writes "One of the largest police forces in the UK is posting every incident reported to it today on Twitter. Greater Manchester Police began its 24-hour experiment this morning at 05:00 BST, tweeting all incident reports in the hope of highlighting the complexity of modern policing. 'Policing is often seen in very simple terms, with cops chasing robbers and locking them up,' Chief Constable Peter Fahy said in a statement. 'However the reality is that this accounts for only part of the work they have to deal with.'"


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UK Police Force Posts All Its Calls On Twitter

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  • by NYMeatball (1635689) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:53AM (#33892964)

    "Local authority's twitter account has been hacked"

  • Sounds like (Score:3, Funny)

    by reitton (1443679) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:55AM (#33892998)
    A great day for a HEIST, just be out of there within 2 minutes of them twittering the call.
  • So (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frozentier (1542099) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:55AM (#33893004)
    In showing how complex and difficult their daily job is, they decided to add the burden of posting every call on Twitter. That makes sense.
    • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elvum (9344) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:03AM (#33893156) Journal

      To be fair, this is two staff from the PR department doing the tweeting, not front-line police officers. Given the publicity they've received in return for those two person-days of effort, it seems like pretty good value to me.

      • Besides, all it would take is an interface between the 999 call-recording software and the Twitter API. I HOPE someone isn't sat there copying them from one system and submitting them in another.
        • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RollingThunder (88952) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:30AM (#33894968)

          I would hope that they are.

          The 999 system data would not be sufficiently anonymized and be too long for twitter's character limit. I would also prefer to know there's at least some separation between the E999 networks, and the general internet.

          Rather than risking an automated filter, and since this is a single-day thing, it makes more sense to bruteforce it. If it was going to be a permanent fixture then I could see the value in going whole-hog and automating it.

      • by molo (94384)

        Why does a police force need a PR department?


        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by delinear (991444)
          I'd guess to try and improve their public profile (you might find this surprising, but in some parts of society the police are not fondly viewed) and probably to attract funding from the private sector.
        • by elvum (9344) *

          Why does any organisation need a PR department?

        • To answer questions from the press. PR isn't just sitting around thinking of ways to spin everything in a positive light. The police have a responsibility to accurately report to the public the crime that is going on in the community.

        • Re:So (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Cederic (9623) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @03:27PM (#33899042) Journal

          The UK government are planning to significantly reduce public spending. The police receive criticism for being very expensive even though there's a lot of crime.

          Posting routine activities on Twitter demonstrates the range of tasks the police have to do, which makes it easier to justify the cost of policing, increases public understanding of the role of the police (thus making it easier for the police to work with the public) and may also help reduce the number of false emergency calls received (which do have a very real cost and distract from the genuine emergencies).

          For a couple of days effort it's a reasonable idea - shame they've cocked it up.

        • by Lillebo (1561251)

          Why does a police force need a PR department?


          You know very well that government budgets are, in part, controlled by public opinion. There's a reason police pose for the press when they make a bust/solve a crime. Stop being a douche.

        • There are a lot of reasons.

          In my city,when there are crimes in some parts of town, the police organize community responses where civilians help police canvas the area and talk to possible witnesses. In some minority (especially latino areas) a lot of people are VERY wary of speaking to the police, but they are more willing to talk to an average civilian. These are organized by police PR.

          Another thing that's really nice in my city is that there are a number of mailing lists--my ~150 home neighborhood home ow

    • by anonicon (215837)

      Oh, yeah, totally! WTF is up with blowing taxpayer money by multi-tasking and educating the public about their mission and seeing what the police see!?


  • by elvum (9344) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:01AM (#33893128) Journal

    Take a look at the excellent [] parodies [] too.

  • I like the idea. (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:23AM (#33893574)
    It's a good idea. I work indirectly for a section of the government whose goal is to solve disasters in cities, and because of that I have access to recorded events attended by firefighters. Happens things all the time every day, more than 30, 50 events per day, and the most varied situations as possible. The public thinks that firefighters only fights fires, but when you are there "in" seeing what happens see that they actually do much more than that. The same for the cops.
  • by Blacklaw (311963) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:38AM (#33893872) Homepage Journal

    Looks like the GMP doesn't have much of a sense of humour - it's threatening spoof account holders with the crime of impersonating a police officer []. Shame, because some of 'em are very well done - such as the Super Mario Brothers version...

    • They are using two or three different accounts to reduce the load on one individual account - no I don't understand either - but it does highlight the need to eliminate imposters.
  • TFA does not mention it, but I hope the tweets are delayed from real time. After all, one would not want to give a thief advance notice that the police are on the way. Pretty obvious and I'm sure it occurred to the police, but I am a little disappointed (but not surprised) that the reporter did not mention this aspect.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:11AM (#33894576)
    This is not new.

    The complexity of modern policing is trying to figure out if a petty criminal is more dangerous to a large group of citizens than a corporation committing massive fraud.
  • Since when was Twitter located in the UK; since when did the police have the right to force a web site to post their stuff?

    The UK police could just tweet them, you know; like everyone else does.

    Then they wouldn't have to go through the nasty steps of "force posting"

  • Reminds me alot of Neasden Police station log from Private Eye. From wikipedia, as I can't find an example online:

    "A fictional police station log, satirising current police policies that are met with general contempt and/or disdain. Ordinary police activities are ignored, with police attention limited to 'counter-terrorism' and obsessive political correctness and pointless bureaucracy. Examples may include an incident in which an elderly woman is attacked by a gang of youths, and is arrested (and unfortunat

  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @03:30PM (#33899100) Journal

    ...and I know what happens if he finds out I've reported it, so I guess I won't now.

    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      In the US, this kind of thing is reported in the paper anyway. It is not a new phenomenon. It's the reason why places like the YWCA and various women's shelters exist, and why people like me went to school for social work.

      There's plenty of resources out there for battered, well, anybody. However, it takes a very, very determined mind to actually go for it. Even in my very limited experience, I've watched abused persons who finally escaped a life of abuse (with their children, no less) not show up to the cou

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold