Tayside Police launch consultation into social networking

A CONSULTATION exercise designed to determine how Tayside Police could use social media to communicate police information to the public is now under way.

The survey, which can be completed on the Tayside Police website at www.tayside.police.uk, comes on the back of a social media pilot being run by the Force in South Perthshire which has seen community officers ‘tweet’ on the beat.

Sarah Craig, senior media relations officer at Tayside Police, said: “We want to find out how we can use social media tools to engage in a more meaningful way with members of the public.

“This is not about abandoning the traditional ways of communicating, but print media is shrinking and losing some of its traditional audience. More and more people are using social media to find out what’s happening and discuss issues in their local area. They are also expressing opinions – both positive and sometimes critical. Either way, unless we are engaged with these people, we miss out on a valuable opportunity to glean important information about how they feel about crime and policing.

“Posting these messages on Twitter is a similar concept to pinning up a poster on community noticeboards, the only difference being it’s quicker, completely free, and directed at the people who are already engaging with us.

“At a time when all police forces are facing redundancies and huge cuts to budgets, it’s vitally important that we make the best possible use of free but highly effective tools to do our business. Free social media allows us to post accurate messages quickly, and to target the right people at the right time.

“Allowing two-way communication is important to us and we aim to have a new forum launched on the Force web-site over the coming months where ideas, concerns, and feedback can be discussed and shared.”