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Monday, 18 October 2010

A good use of Twitter

Police have a difficult job there is no doubt about that. One of the difficulties they have is showing what an effective job they are doing day to day. I am afraid that by trying to show, often falsely, that crime and disorder is low they are doing themselves no favours because it undersells their essential value to vast areas of the UK. The fact is confidence in police is tied up with the public's demand on them. High demand means the public think police are there to help them and that the police have the ability to meet those high expectations. As a police officer I have dealt with all sorts of incidents that can be argued  are not core policing duties but I was brought in the British Policing tradition that the police are essentially there to serve - thus the word Service  in Police Service. Even the application of force, arrest etc. is done with motive of service to society as a whole.

This is where the crime maps that the British Police produce have got it wrong because they do not show the police activity that goes on. That is why I think Chief Constable Peter Fahy of Greater Manchester Police has got it completely right by using Twitter to publicize the volume and variety of incidents in a 24 hour period. The results can be found here and here.

It appears Greater Manchester get about 3000 incident calls a day. As a retired Metropolitan Police Officer from London I think it is my duty to point out this is about a quarter of the calls the MPS deal with in a day.

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