Police in Manchester turn to Twitter

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Social Media

Tweeting policemen

In an effort to raise awareness of the diversity and magnitude of its work, Greater Manchester Police has turned to social media site Twitter. From 5am today, three Twitter feeds will be reporting every call the police force receives over 24 hours.

Using the hashtag #gmp24, over 650 calls have been tweeted since the project began, with three accounts being used to deal with the sheer number of tweets necessary. The tweets range from domestic disturbances and traffic offences, to missing persons, abandoned vehicles, and even loose animals. There were a reported 22 arrests between 7am and 9am.

Spending review protest

GMP currently employs 1,400 officers over five shifts, who deal with 120 calls every hour. Chief Constable Peter Fahy has commented that around two-thirds of the calls his force deals with are more "social work" than crime, including anti-social behaviour, drink-related disturbances, people needing psychiatric help, and runaway children.

The government is conducting a public services spending review, with details of cuts to be released on October 20th 2010. If GMP does receive the anticipated 25% drop in funding, it is predicted that over 3,000 staff will be made redundant. Mr Fahy told the Manchester Evening News, "Politicians don't understand the social problems we are dealing with day-in, day-out. This is not Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes. This is the real work we do".

As leader of workforce modernisation at the Association of Chief Police Officers, Fahy has already cut red tape and reduced paperwork for officers. Police forces across the country have used Twitter in the past to release information and make appeals, but today's project is the first of its kind.