GMP get busy on Twitter
With the axe of austerity being wielded by the powers that be, all publicly funded bodies are praying that their budgets won’t be slashed too severely in the Spending Review on October 20th.
This will have been part of the motivation for Chief Constable Peter Fahy‘s decision to launch Greater Manchester Police’s social media experiment whereby they tweeted every 999 call they received over a 24 hour period.
Clearly feeling that much of their work passed unappreciated by the public and unrecorded in offical league tables, the exercise in transparency has helped change perceptions of the police more effectively and quickly than any boring spokesman or expensive advertising campaign could have hoped.
By the end of the show they’d tweeted well over 3,000 calls, gathered over 17,000 followers and arrested 341 people of whom 126 remain in custody.
They had also fallen foul of Twitters spamming rules meaning that they had to open several accounts after their original one was frozen due to excessive tweeting.
Inevitably pranksters were quick to set up false accounts such as @gmp24_7 which included hoax reports in the style of the GMP tweets.
The campaign has been heralded as a success though hasn’t been appreciated by everyone. In what Zeitgeist feels is a slightly shortsighted view that fails to understand both the purpose of the campaign and the effectiveness of the channel, Fiona McEvoy of the TaxPayers’ Alliance complained that,‘The police should be catching criminals, not wasting time on social websites.’
Now that we know how busy the police are, dealing with issues ranging from reported sexual assaults to false alarms regarding four foot dolls near the M56 and burning hedges in Trafford, it could turn out to be an extremely cost effective exercise.
As one follower stated “They did more in the last five minutes than I thought they would in a whole day.”
With thousands of other followers reaching a similar conclusion the authorities may well think twice about making any drastic cuts to Chief Constable Fahy’s budget and dramatically reforming the structure of the Police service.
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