UK Police in Twitter Experiment
A police force in England has made a splash in the social media world by tweeting every incident it dealt with over a 24-hour period from 5AM BST (midnight EST) on Thursday October 14th to the same time yesterday, Friday 15th.
Greater Manchester Police decided to open up their operations for the day to show the public exactly what its officers do, and to demonstrate to the government how damaging proposed cuts to funding and staff would be.
The force used four different accounts because of Twitter's spam-reducing tweet frequency limit to detail a total of 3,205 incidents. 341 people were arrested over the 24-hour period, and 126 of those were in custody yesterday. The experiment received wide-ranging praise from across the world, with the hashtag used in each tweet, "#gmp24" becoming the most-mentioned phrase worldwide on the site.
It wasn't long before hundreds of people started following the police's activity, with many retweets spreading the word of what the force was doing across Twitter and the web. A spoof account was quickly created by some witty chancer, while the main @gmpolice account gained thousands of new followers.
Greater Manchester Police is hailing the experiment as a success. The force's Chief Constable Peter Fahy was fully behind the idea, and afterwards spoke about what it achieved.
He said: "The reaction we have received proves that the public perception of modern day policing was removed from the reality that my officers face... As well as serious crimes, we deal with many social issues and other incidents that the public are quite surprised about."
Using social media tools available to everyone, like Twitter, is a great way of drawing the attention of the mass media to things that might otherwise go unnoticed. In the last year, simple hashtags have been used to whip up support for several things threatened in the UK, including "#welovetheNHS" and "#proudoftheBBC", which has been turned in to a song by popular comedian and singer-songwriter Mitch Benn. Enjoy it below, and you can see all the tweets by GMP here.
Image © Copyright Greater Manchester Police. All rights reserved.