Social media is proving to be a vital communications tool for Northamptonshire Police.
A constant flow of real-time information on Facebook and Twitter has resulted in 8,344 people now following the force’s Twitter feed.
Territorial District Commander Chief Inspector Dave Spencer is one of the Force’s most prolific tweeters, with hundreds of followers.
He said: “Twitter and Facebook are working to break down barriers between officers and the public. In South Northamptonshire for example, confidence in policing has increased from 57 per cent to 63.4 per cent.
“Twitter is an important tool. It is not appropriate for reporting crime, but provides a great opportunity to engage with the public in an informal, relaxed way that really helps them understand policing.
“Much of what we focus on is to do with social problems such as missing people, those with mental health problems and complex cases of domestic abuse. These cases need considerable resource and expertise, and none of this work is recognised in statistics and league tables. Social media enables the work of the force to be measured in a different way; it shows people what we cope with on a daily basis.
“Followers pick you so you are not preaching to people who aren’t necessarily interested.
“I also include tweets about what I might be doing in my spare time, such as football coaching, and I think when officers do this it helps break down barriers and shows the public our human side.
“In addition Twitter is an important source of information for me personally. I follow politicians, councils, media outlets, news reporters and other opinion formers at local and national levels which makes it easy you keep up to date with police industry news and debate.”