Manchester Police joins Twitter for the day

October 14, 2010 // 11:50 a.m.

Tags: #gmp #gmp-24 #greater-manchester-police #police #police-twitter #twitter #web-20

The Greater Manchester Police has decided to give the Internet-connected public a glance into modern policing, by posting every incident dealt with over a 24 hour period to Twitter.

The project, which started at 0500 this morning and will run through to early tomorrow, offers a fascinating glimpse of some of the calls that GMP officers are routinely expected to deal with.

So far today, the police have been asked to help a woman sue the benefits office because she had run out of money - it's understood that they declined - and a report of a man holding a baby over a bridge turned out to be a 'man carrying dog that doesn't like bridges.'

As amusing as watching the various bizarre reports flow in is, GMP's chief constable Peter Fahy claims that there is a serious message to the project. In a statement, Fahy said that '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.'

Bemoaning the fact that 'league tables and measurements' fail to recognise the majority of work that GMP officers do, Fahy stated that 'I think that it’s time to start measuring performance in a different way. There needs to be more focus on how the public sector as a whole is working together to tackle society’s issues and problems.'

If you want to join in on the project, there are three Twitter accounts you'll want to follow: @gmp24_1, @gmp24_2, and @gmp24_3. The project is split into three accounts due to the volume of calls received, which would quickly trigger Twitter's rate limiting if posted to a single account.

For those of a more visual bent, the GMP officers will also be posting choice selection of photos on the official GMP Flickr account.

So far the GMP hasn't confirmed whether the experiment is a one-off, or if it will be repeated in the future.

Are you impressed to see the Greater Manchester Police using technology to better connect with the community, or is it just a waste of police time on a pointless publicity stunt? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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