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Police: Digital Futures…

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

I attended a conference today with some senior police leaders to discuss how we take police use of social media forwards. Following on from the riots, there is a real impetus behind this work, and the genie is now well and truly out of the bottle. It was really refreshing to see a room full of senior officers with an understanding of the key issues and a desire to improve the current situation.

There is an emerging consensus of the big business areas where we need to integrate social media into our traditional policing response, they are;

  • Engagement
  • Intelligence
  • Investigation

Engagement seems relatively obvious, police officers should be taking every opportunity, and using every medium to talk to our communities, listen to them, and allow the public to influence how we deploy our resources. In this regard, social media seems to be an open goal. I am followed on twitter by around 7700 people, many of them from Wolverhampton, and as the Superintendent for the City, this gives me an opportunity to talk to people...

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Police: Social media, Police and Riots

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

I decided to wait for a little while before writing a post to discuss the use of social media during the recent riots that took place across England. Over a period of two weeks we have seen a move away from the initial knee jerk calls for social media to be turned off during disorder to a much more sensible position, of the industry working with the authorities to start to understand the social media world better from both sides.

Over this period, I have seen the Police attacked for their lack of knowledge of and use of social media. Those of you who have read my previous blogs will know that I have been a fierce advocate of police use of social media for many years. I have used social media effectively during disturbances before, and posted about it in April 2010. There has been a group of early adopter forces and individual officers who have been trying to enhance the understanding and use of social media amongst UK policing over the past three years.

Those calling for social media to be turned off seem to me to have...

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Police: Post Riot Thoughts…

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

It is now two weeks since the riots. On the day that significant disorder broke out in Wolverhampton, I was out on the ground, witnessing at first hand the damage being caused, the violence being used towards officers and the looting of the shops that were deliberately targeted for the goods that were on display. We were able to bring the situation under control due to some heroic actions from our officers, relatively quickly, and with thankfully little injury to the public or police. As is always the way in such events, there were moments of extreme frustration, that we couldn’t protect everything as we had to move officers to protect and contain locations. There were also moments of extreme satisfaction, as we started to lock the offenders up and force the rioters out of the city.

Throughout the course of the day I witnessed some acts of real bravery from officers. As always I was very proud to be part of the Police force that stood in front on the offenders, took the missiles off them,  stopped...

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Police: Rooney’s example

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

At the weekend I watched Wayne Rooney score a hat trick for Man Utd, rescuing them from certain defeat. He celebrated this achievement by walking over to the nearest camera and indulging in a juvenile rant using a series of four letter words, his face screwed up in rage. This all happened in the middle of the day, when the match would have been watched by thousands of impressionable youngsters.

Why is this worthy of comment? I have seen a thousand Rooney’s, and I am sure most police officers will have. The same aggressive stance, the bulging eyes, the foul mouthed rant, fists clenched, surrounded by his mates, all cheering him on. I have seen this on Friday and Saturday nights, as young men (and more often young ladies) enagage in a ‘good night out.’ I have seen people argue over almost every kind of nonsense you could imagine. ‘He stole my place in the taxi queue,’ ‘ he looked at my girlfriend,’ ‘he is from the wrong estate,’ ‘ I didn’t like the look of him.’ 

Rooney has offered some form of apology,  no...

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Police: Making progress….

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

In November 2009 I posted about Police using Social media, or rather not using social media.  At the time I wrote it you were more likely to see Gordon Brown performing a stand up comedy routine than you were to see a police officer on twitter.

Since that time, we have made some good progress. There are many more forces now engaged and actively participating, and lights seem to be coming on all over the place. I am regularly e-mailed by officers asking for advice on Social Media use, and encourage as many as I can to come on board. Since taking up my new job at Wolverhampton I am encouraging my officers to get involved and take the social media plunge.

I wrote the post to encourage officers to use social media to talk to and engage with the public in a different way.  We will of course always make most of our contact face to face, but we cannot afford to ignore the booming social media landscape. Engaging with the public remains an excellent reason to use social media, but it is clear...

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Police: The Invisible Police

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

You do not have to look very far at present to find a small group of people having a regular knock at the Police. At the top of the list of issues that they frequently repeat is the lack of visibility from Police officers. The issue is then picked up and repeated by the media, in places like Twitter and quickly becomes accepted as fact. Next year we will have the election campaigns running for the new Police and Crime Commissioners. I predict that all of the candidates will be telling the public that they will get tough with Police leaders, and force officers out of their stations into their communities.

I will not go into the way that police visibility is measured here, but I do want to illustrate the competing demands on police resources and why some officers are not visible to the public.

Firstly let me say that there is nobody prouder than me to wear a police uniform. I recognise and value the fantastic work carried out by neighbourhood teams and response officers up and down the country. I have carried out both...

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Police: Money, money, money

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

We are currently in an era where money or lack of it is having a huge impact upon the policing landscape.

Last week saw the publication of two reports which will have a very significant effect on police officers terms and conditions for years to come. On Tuesday, Tom Winsor, the former rail regulator published his report into Police pay and conditions. This was followed by the Hutton report into public sector pensions.

In the space of a week, many officers have seen a future which is looking significantly worse than it was the week before. All of the public sector have been told to deal with a two year pay freeze and an increase in pension contributions, but seemingly uniquely, police officers also have to absorb a report into pay and conditions which will leave almost every officer worse off. This is I think much worse than most officers had expected, and has left many feeling a bit bewildered.

At the same time there has been an unprecedented campaign being carried out in the media, with many credible journalists repeating...

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Police: From Hard times to Hyperlocal

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

It will not have escaped your attention that the country is experiencing some financial turmoil at present. The news in the last 24 hours has been dominated by a claim that 10,000 police officers will be lost over the coming year. I have no idea if these numbers are true (I’m not sure anybody knows yet), but it is safe to say that in years to come there will be less police officers, less fire officers, less local authority employees , in fact less of lots of people employed to look after us.

I claim no insider knowledge here, I have a good idea what is going on within policing, but a combination of common sense, and watching the news leads me to anticipate a reduction in these posts. Essentially for any organisation, people are the most expensive resource, and therefore any significant reduction in funds is likley to see less people on the ground. We are all trying to make sure that we preserve as many frontline staff as possible, but we will need to explore new ways of delivering our service in these hard times.

One of the...

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Police: It’s a great life really……

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

On my second ever day in the police, I was called to a ‘sudden death.’ As the probationer on the team I was taken by my Sergeant to the scene to make sure there were no suspicious circumstances. Once in the house I was told I would have to search the body, to make sure there were no knives sticking out of their back or anything else that might have prompted my inexperienced 23 year old mind to suspect foul play. Nothing in my life to date had prepared me for this experience, but I was determined to look professional, so I pulled on my plastic gloves and bravely knelt down alongside the deceased. It was at this point that a horse walked out of the kitchen into the lounge where we were all gathered. Nobody but me batted an eyelid, this was apparently quite normal in the area. At this point I realised that the life of a police officer is anything but normal.

I am often asked by people I meet what my job is like. If I am honest I absolutely love it, and...

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Police: Policing:Further adventures on Twitter

Written by RSS Poster Superintendent Mark Payne

Over the past 24 hours, the Local Policing Unit from Birmingham South have been tweeting live incidents and their officers’ responses to them. Armed only with a hashtag (#bsp24) and a new twitter account, they have ventured out into the world of social media. Judging by the excellent feedback they have received, I am sure they will be  extremely pleased with the results.

Two weeks ago, I spoke to the Commander from Birmingham South, Phil Kay, and discussed the idea with him. He is really forward thinking and had already set the ball rolling with his communications team. At that point they had around 70 people following them on Twitter. By the end of the 24 hour output they had well over 1000.

I have blogged before about the need for police forces to engage more pro-actively in the area of social media, and the example above really does illustrate the point.  The communities of South Birmingham clearly want to engage with and talk to the Police. The Commander and his staff now have the ability...

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Latest Superintendent Mark Payne Stories

Digital Futures…
Social media, Police and Riots
Post Riot Thoughts…
Rooney’s example
Making progress….

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