I noticed on Twitter last week that in Granada* the police officers have the force Twitter handle sewn into their uniforms and it’s also on police cars.
Police in Granada have Twitter handles on their uniform pic.twitter.com/xwH2AX8sp4 via @gordonmacmillan #gov20 #ace
— Helen Reynolds (@HelReynolds) June 25, 2013
It’s a simple and effective way to promote the force’s presence on Twitter.
Here are three reasons I think it’s a brilliant thing to do:
It demonstrates openness
A sewn-in Twitter handle pretty much shouts: ‘We want to hear from you!’ Not: ‘Please don’t get in touch unless we deem it to be an important issue’.
The latter can often be the tone set by public service organisations who fear ‘the people’ will waste their time.
Building trust with the community is an important part of effective policing and engaging on social media can really help organisations to become relevant, informed and trusted.
It legitimises social media
Reminding everybody of the force Twitter handle shows a police force prepared to use Twitter as a channel for communication – customer service, feedback, complaints, engagement, co-production of services – whatever people want from their police. It’s also for marketing and PR but it’s not just about that.
The plus side of the high visibility is that many officers who may have been reluctant to tweet may have a go now they see it’s a tool that’s been sanctioned by their organisation.
It shows that simple is often best
Organisations should experiment with new ways to share contact details and spread messages but sometimes expensive newsletters, Pinterest boards or even email signatures just don’t cut it – there is no more visible place than on an officers uniform and car.
Granada police have Twitter handles on their patrol cars too. Mayor wants government more accessible & accountable pic.twitter.com/7geLHYGmdF
— Gordon MacMillan (@gordonmacmillan) June 24, 2013
I remember being told on my trip to Granada a few years ago that it was the Mayor who had made it so that every beer or wine there comes with free tapas. I thought that Mayor was awesome then and this has just reinforced that.
*CORRECTION: Jun is a place nearby Granada, not Granada itself:
@HelReynolds Nice post! Minor point, apparently it’s not Granada, but a smaller town, Jun: http://t.co/rARw1SAh1E
— Crisis Social Media (@CrisisSocMedia) March 15, 2014
They are way ahead on the continent. First the great weather, siestas food & wine but now this?
#bleedinghead #policebaton #policebrutality ???!?!?!?!?!?
Welcome to Police state UK
Coming soon to streets of UK.
If it doesn’t already exist, we should create a little business-card–sized “community connecting” cheat-sheet. It could be aimed (initially) at the great British bobbies we interact with. Here is my best scenario for handing them out: –
Scene: busy street corner in a local community. A public or civil servant has just helped you.
You: “Many thanks for your help officier, you’ve been really helpful. Tell me; do you ever interact with friends online, who ask for advice about Police matters?”
Servant: “Sometimes, yes. Why?”
You: “Well, take one of these (hands card). It gives you clear, simple & quick pointers to how you could help your community online”
Servant: “Thanks. What do you do? Are you a salesperson? (smiles)”
You: “No (smiles back). I just like bringing people together and I think you could do the same. Anyway, have a good day!”
Servant: “And you”
You exit shot right. Servant examines card and smiles to themselves.
Fade to black.
Bizarre coincidence, you’ve just liked a post of mine, and I was next week about to contact you in my alter-egos professional capacity of Policy Officer In A Council, about social media.
We’d read about Monmouthshire’s approach to SM and are keen on finding out more, as we are RIGHT at the beginning of it all.
I’ll email from my work account tomorrow.