Thursday 6 February 2014

The impact of Social Media on Policing an update

Back in 2012 I undertook research to look at the number of times that the term Facebook was referred to in the Police Communications Logs. These are logs and records made by Control Room staff. They relate to a Force close to my heart, which in turn represents about 1 % of policing of the UK

Using the amount of times the word was used I was astonished to see that there were 14,000 references to the term Facebook in those logs
That does not equate to 14,000 incidents or crimes. What it represents is the word was used 14,000 times,  in reference to a crime or incident, perhaps any of the following situations

  • Bullying online by one user against another
  • Seeking out details to locate a missing person
  • Abuse by someone
  • Background information
  • Lost property

Or any number of things

And clearly the term Facebook may be used more than once in any incident logged in the Control Room

What is surprising is that the figures for 2012 and 2013 are as follows
2012 - 18,821
2013 - 27,049
#source Corporate Support
This demonstrates a doubling of the times that Facebook itself is referred to 
For the Police this will mean that far more officers and staff are subject to contact with those seeking help for issues that have a Social Media aspect, whether for evidence of a crime or for any other matter
Having some knowledge about how they operate and having the ability to do something is obviously an advantage
Leadership understanding and engagement is also a benefit 

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