Sunday, 29 May 2011

Appleby Fair Policing via Twitter

It has been an interesting evening, with two Police Sergeants dispatched from Ravenstonedale to Warcop to help clarify the policing arrangements for the following days after a short conversation on Twitter with the Deputy Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary and the Chairman of the Cumbrian Police Federation.

Twitter, as you may or may not know, is a micro-communication tool, similar to text messaging, that allows messages of up to 140 characters to be sent to single or multiple recipients over the Internet. No conversation is long! Whilst Twitter is frequently dismissed as trivial, those who use it regularly know that it can bring untold levels of information, news, and contacts that are difficult to obtain by any other means.

The recent uptake of Twitter as a customer services tool by businesses and local government has meant that it is currently far easier to reach people in charge in our government departments, and who can make decisions or provide information than has previously been possible. However, I wasn't quite expecting to reach the DCC in one small step!

I discovered on a trip to Kirkby Stephen police station earlier today that the station was well and truly closed.

I needed to contact Roly Earl, not the Helpline, and I tweeted the photo that highlighted my predicament. Shortly afterwards, the DCC of Cumbria, affectionately known as 'Big Stu' picked it up and within very little time, it had been passed on to other Police officials, who put me in touch with the right people to answer my queries. By sending them down from Cote Moor to my door within under 40 minutes!

Whilst there will undoubtedly be questions asked about policing of the Fair after the event, however it goes, at this point in time it is hats off to Cumbria Constabulary for adopting the Internet, making great use of it, sending friendly and helpful staff, who will ensure that the required email will be received when the day shift come on duty.

Am suitably impressed!



  1. iPlod?
    yay, hats off to them indeed.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This shows the positive side of social media - the difference? The fact that you have a real gem of person in @DCC_StuartHyde in that he fully understands the strength of Social Media and that is to listen and engage.
    Organisations must embrace social media as those that use this channel expect to be engaged through it.
    Great story and positive aspect for the use of Social Media in policing.

    Sasha Taylor
    Chair of National Police Web Managers Group
    Twitter: @Sasha_Taylor

  4. The use of Twitter to address Warcop's particular problems during the run-up to Fair has further emphasised the value of community policing via social media.

    The use of the hashtag #iplod means we can now ensure that Cumbria Constabulary receive the required messages easily. And it is short, which is essential when you only have 140 characters to play with!

    Warcop still needs to find solutions to the problem but there will be a public meeting about the Fair called by the Parish Council after there has been a debrief with the police.