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Police Community Support Officers: Twitter best practice

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This online presentation draws on my research on use of Twitter by Police Community Support Officers. The research pulls together the best examples of how PCSO's use twitter. I looked at 18 different twitter profiles across 12 police forces.

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Police Community Support Officers: Twitter best practice

  1. 1. Twitter Best Practice by PCSO’s This online presentation highlights the best examples of Twitter use by PCSO’s. It is draws on online research which looked at 18 different user profiles across 12 police forces Presentation by Gavin Barker
  2. 2. About me  Background in the public and charity sector with roles including Contact details Website: Email: Mobile: 0750 890 7171 ⁻ community engagement with refugee and local resident communities ₋ Mediation and bridge building in community conflict situations ₋ Policy research ₋ Social media and web project management  Current role ₋ Online research on use of social media by public and private organisations ₋ Social media consultancy for small businesses ₋ online diagnostics for individuals and organisations in their use of twitter which includes key metrics and suggestions for improvement Presentation by Gavin Barker
  3. 3. We look at three broad areas of twitter activity by PCSO’s Who I am and what I do Building relationships with the wider community Information about who you are, what you do, who you work for Raising awareness Key messages, Crime prevention timely reminders, and education links to more detailed information Promoting safer neighbourhoods Tackling crime & antisocial behaviour Re-assuring the public with live updates, bulletins, as well as crowdsourcing information Presentation by Gavin Barker
  4. 4. Who you are and what you do Twitter profiles and tweets: best examples Presentation by Gavin Barker
  5. 5. WHO YOU ARE & WHAT YOU DO: KEY FINDINGS Best practice Areas of weakness • Who you are and what you do begins • with your Twitter profile and the best profiles used pictures of people to convey personal relationship and local connection rather than a strictly corporate identity • The use of humour and banter played an important role in building positive relationships with a wider • public • Twitter as a police recruitment tool also allowed a wider public to get a more in-depth understanding of police work and what it involves. An inconsistent use of hashtags. Some were irrelevant to the subject matter of tweets. Other hashtags were simply too broad a category to be useful to the viewer. Even #police is less useful than it appears because it groups conversations from all over the world – police authorities in North America, India, Dubai and Australia. #ukpolice might be a better option. Other hashtags such as #workingtogether and #committed (which brings in conversations from sports to civil partnerships) suffered the same diffuse spread of conversations with no common theme Presentation by Gavin Barker
  6. 6. A picture rather than a logo makes for a stronger personal profile A picture of PCSO’s in the neighbourhood conveys a stronger sense of social connection and relationship Police brand forms part of the background rather than the central focus Profiles are the first thing a potential follower sees. Profiles that promote local or social connection rather than brand, play to the strengths of social media. Presentation by Gavin Barker
  7. 7. Showing the face behind the uniform The header image captures social interaction – a policeman talking and smiling to a member of the public. It promotes positive sentiment and sets the ‘tone’ for the kind of relationship a PCSO seeks to build Link to website uses a url which measures the number of times people click on the link Presentation by Gavin Barker
  8. 8. Using a local landmark that everyone knows of Background picture uses a local landmark that everyone identifies with Landmarks such as bridges, rivers, iconic buildings are part of the emotional landscape of local people This particular picture is of the River Tamar and bridge, a well known landmark which marks the dividing line between Cornwall and the rest of England Presentation by Gavin Barker
  9. 9. Landmarks convey a sense of place, of community The profile header image also includes key headline information Presentation by Gavin Barker
  10. 10. Adopting a personal, conversational tone …. The tone is conversational Gardening… ….allows personality to show through and helps build a relationship with the wider community The weather… A sons 7th Birthday…. Presentation by Gavin Barker
  11. 11. Humour and stories that give an inside view Whether it is a chance encounter with colleagues old and new Or the pain of a dislocated knee Presentation by Gavin Barker
  12. 12. Twitter as a recruiting tool also gives an inside view Recruitment event for Special Constables includes use of Twitter for online Q&A. It achieves two things • It gives an inside view of the role of special constables • It encourages recruitment of those with social media skills Presentation by Gavin Barker
  13. 13. Burnt out van, Hackney, riots 2011 Photo by Alastair PROMOTING SAFER NEIGHBOURHOODS Presentation by Gavin Barker
  14. 14. KEY FINDINGS Best practice • A strategic use of twitter to structure information in 3 ways: ‘what I will do and where’, ‘what’s happening’, endof-shift feedback • Judicious use of hashtags particularly place names that form part of a PCSO’s patch, example #grindleford #seaford • Good use of images to drive home messages • Twitter for civil emergencies – a new service being rolled out in the UK • Sharing local news to foster a sense of community connection Areas for weakness • • • Over liberal use of hashtags such as #wetakesecurity #alwayshelping that pulls in unrelated content from all over the world Use of twitter restricted to relentless sharing of crime updates and requests for public help can, over time, foster negative social sentiment – the feeling that people are living in a crime-prone area There was almost a complete absence of reference to on online conflict, cyber-bullying and other forms of anti social behaviour which may later play out off-line Presentation by Gavin Barker
  15. 15. Live updates re-assure the public of a police presence actively working on their behalf • Tackling street drinkers • moving on beggars • reporting a lost dog • Giving crime prevention advice to an elderly lady Presentation by Gavin Barker
  16. 16. Tweets that tell a story some stories pack an emotional punch… …and transform our perception of the police: not just a uniform but a mum “I’m a mum and we are never off duty” Presentation by Gavin Barker
  17. 17. Twitter as a crowdsourcing tool Police work has always relied on the assistance of the public, but it is the ease, speed and scale of public involvement afforded by tools such as Twitter that transforms police work. It also enables the police to tap into local knowledge and face-to-face social networks on a sustained and continuous basis. Hashtags based on locality and neighbourhood are a vital but often under-used tool in twitter armoury. They act as a cocreated community news stream Presentation by Gavin Barker
  18. 18. Using Twitter to drive face to face interaction Tweets advertising surgery in gift shop ‘share your views’ Advertising neigbhourhood watch meeting using hashtag to do so Hashtag place names are often used as a source of local news – and it enables the police to connect with people who don’t ‘follow’ you by Gavin Barker Presentation
  19. 19. Sharing local news Sharing local news through re-tweets might seem on the periphery of a policemen’s job to fight crime but it performs an important function in two ways: • It promotes the PCSO as a key social hub at the centre of news and information of value and interest to the local community • It fosters a sense of community spirit and helps build trust and social capital between members of a community. The last point is critical: high levels of trust and social capital reduces fear of crime and promotes a greater willingness to report crime when it happens Presentation by Gavin Barker
  20. 20. Promoting road safety Twitter lends itself to short, sharp key messages With an image that conveys a clear warning Presentation by Gavin Barker
  21. 21. Responding to anti-social behaviour Not just sharing information but showing a visible result Presentation by Gavin Barker
  22. 22. Twitter combined with a neighbourhood alert system Lincolnshire alert is a free two way community messaging system designed to put you in touch with Lincolnshire Police and Neighbourhood Watch Neighbourhood alert – with a clickable link to find more detailed information Presentation by Gavin Barker
  23. 23. Twitter Alerts for civil emergencies Twitter Alerts for disasters and civil emergencies is a new service being rolled out in the UK As of 18 November 013, Twitter users will be able to register for the service which aims to “get critical information to the right people at the right time”. Users who opt-in to Twitter Alerts, will receive tweets marked with a small orange bell for important alerts so as to stand out from the user’s timeline. They will also receive a text message directly to their phones Presentation by Gavin Barker
  24. 24. Twitter strategy to structure information updates This example shows a good use of Twitter to: Map out the days activities: -what I will do -where I will be Drive face to face interaction: ‘I will be in the High Street, Bugbrooke, come and talk to me’ Report back on the days events ‘have spoken to lots of residents’ ‘school parking patrol’ Presentation by Gavin Barker
  25. 25. No news is good news that also deserves a mention No news is good news: no issues to report Quite often the instinct is to find something to report or tweet, but sometimes the best messages are one of reassurance. No crimes or reports of anti social behaviour can be vital to counter balance the fear of crime that haunts so many communities Presentation by Gavin Barker
  26. 26. CRIME PREVENTION AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION Presentation by Gavin Barker
  27. 27. Key findings Best practice • Headline information combined with strong images or links to more detailed information • Using crime updates to re – inforce crime prevention messages • The use of social events to promote key messages Areas for improvement • use of hashtags of overlong hashtags of limited effectiveness e.g. #nostreetdrinkingplease • Limited use of platforms such as to measure engagement e.g. number of clicks on tweets Presentation by Gavin Barker
  28. 28. Cautionary messages for a Friday night Key timely message tweeted early on a Friday evening…… …combined with a strong image… Maximises the impact of what you want to say Presentation by Gavin Barker
  29. 29. Messages well timed Another cautionary tweet with clear, practical advice in case of emergency Timing is everything ! Sent early Friday evening Presentation by Gavin Barker
  30. 30. Well timed tweets that are pithy and to the point Combined with a powerful picture And tweeted early Friday evening Presentation by Gavin Barker
  31. 31. using crime updates to promote crime prevention Using live examples makes it real. It enhances the impact of key messages on crime prevention Maybe could have also included a twitpic on home safety and a #southHeighton hashtag Presentation by Gavin Barker
  32. 32. Live Q&A using twitter hashtag and video • questions were routed to their website which combined live Q&A with video • Live Q&A moderated – questions checked before being read out on video • A video broadcast is more immediate and does not confine answers to 140 characters #bhburglary week with Brighton and Hove Note: limit to moderation using twitter given that anyone can say anything and append the hashtag – but very good approach nevertheless ! #hashtag live Q&A but no Twitter share icon – just Facebook? Presentation by Gavin Barker
  33. 33. Twitter live Q & A using a hashtag • #bhburglaryweek – bh stands for Brighton and Hove • Anyone tweeting a question using that hashtag will see their question appear in the twitter stream • Hashtags are a great way of capturing useful crime prevention information Presentation by Gavin Barker
  34. 34. Using social events to promote key messages Devon and Cornwall police designed and project managed a social event built around key community safety messages The theme of road safety was central to the design of a Biker event and competition which was sponsored by local businesses interested in gaining new customers Could the same approach be applied to social events/ road shows that combined: -Home improvements with home safety? -car care product shows with crime prevention? -IT roadshows with awareness around cyberbullying? Presentation by Gavin Barker
  35. 35. Using to measure engagement Live Q & A with Twitter hashtag includes the use of to measure engagement allows you to measure the number of clicks on a link It also tells you which platform was used to click on that link Presentation by Gavin Barker
  36. 36. End of presentation I hope you found this useful Contact details Website: Email: Mobile: 0750 890 7171 This is a free resource so please download and share with colleagues. Please given feedback on points not covered and how I can improve on this For a consultation and assessment in your current use of twitter, along with key metrics for your Twitter account, please contact me Presentation by Gavin Barker