Tweeting Cops give the 411 on 999: Manchester Police use Twitter


If there’s one thing better than the police wandering around solving crime and taking stray dogs off motorways, it’s the police wandering around solving crime, taking stray dogs off motorways and tweeting about it.

Because then we all get an insight into the crazy shit that goes on from the comfort of the Tweetdeck interface.

I am very pleased to say that several UK police forces have started tweeting about their daily activities. The Greater Manchester Police force are the torch bearers here with several of their local police forces tweeting on the following accounts: @gmp24_1, @gmp24_2 and @gmp24_3. Sadly this is just a 24hr exercise in public relations but we hope that it will become more widespread and regular.

Because it’s great! This the sort of stuff that would appear in the odd news section of a local paper, if local newspapers still existed/published news. Or perhaps the sort of stories that you’d hear from the local village gossip if you lived in a village and actually talked to your IRL neighbours.

There are gems like this:

@gmp24_1 Report of man holding baby over bridge – police attended and it was man carrying dog that doesn’t like bridges #gmp24

Though most of the tweets are just a summary record of calls received:

Call 853 – Suspicious men demolishing a wall in South Manchester #gmp24
Call 858 – Collision between lorry and car in Tameside. No injuries #gmp24
Call 862 Elderly man collapsed, taken home by police in Trafford #gmp24
Call 855 – Silent 999 #gmp24

Not thrilling in themsleves, but kind of interesting because they let you know what the police actually get up to in their offices and provide a kind of list of the incidents that make up the daily life of an area.

There’s quite a serious rationale behind it all too, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Fahy said on the website:

“Policing is often seen in very simple terms, with cops chasing robbers and locking them up. However the reality is that this accounts for only part of the work they have to deal with. A lot of what we do is dealing with social problems such as missing children, people with mental health problems and domestic abuse. Often these incidents can be incredibly complex and need a lot of time, resource and expertise. I am not saying that we shouldn’t deal with these types of incidents, far from it, but what I am saying is that this work is not recognised in league tables and measurements – yet is a huge part of what we do.”

Hope to see a lot more of this…

Anna Leach