Changes to our social media accounts
We’re currently making changes to our social media accounts across Norfolk Police. These changes have seen officer and some department accounts closed down.
Social media is a positive, powerful tool which brings vast benefits in reaching out and engaging with our communities. The informal nature means it can help to break down barriers, share information and appeals instantly. While the desire for information has never been greater, there is an important balance we must strike here.
A review of our social media channels showed that a number of officer Twitter accounts weren’t being routinely used with six of the 12 accounts not posting content for at least a month. By comparison, the seven district accounts were much more active and also have a greater following of local people, with 72% of followers living in the county compared to 48% of followers for officer accounts. The purpose of a police account on Twitter is to be engaging with the public so the inactivity was a real concern for us. We would always expect officers to be approachable and engaging while on patrol in their communities and this expectation equally applies to our online platforms.
While the decision to consolidate our accounts is primarily based on local research, it also follows recommendations from the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) based on public feedback in the National Policing Digital Strategy.
Norfolk is not unique in this approach and forces that have reduced accounts have seen more engagement, not less. We are encouraging more contributors to our existing accounts to create a wider range of interesting content, which will have a greater reach to the communities we serve. This is where we need to focus our efforts to help keep our communities safe and feeling safe.
We know through work carried out nationally that there is no correlation between numbers of accounts and levels of engagement.
Engagement is happening all the time through our conversations and interactions with the public. Social media is just one part of it and this is about our wider aims of making sure we have a consistent approach of supporting local and force priorities while meeting the needs of all our communities offering effective two-way engagement.