Police Twitter awards 2016 – what a great focus for an end of year final (short) blog.
As I travel back from the awards hosted at Northampton Police HQ I have to say how much my belief in Twitter for getting positive messages out to the community / to officers themselves / to stakeholders that work with the police and to the police academic community out there has been reconfirmed today. It was absolutely fantastic to see so many officers who carefully deliver critical messages in a tight 140 characters recognised for their great work. I didn’t know all the accounts that won or were nominated but they all completely deserved to be there.
Some accounts like Jon Sutherland’s blogs provide really positive leadership messages to officers. His style attempts to raise morale and highlights to us all the very difficult job that officers do every day along side managing their own lives (which exist outside of uniform). Rob Stevens who successfully influenced us all changing our profile pictures this year for the sake of raising awareness about CSE and Kirsty Down PSCO who runs an amazingly engaging account which appeals to many rightly won.
Getting Twitter ‘right’ is hard. Things can get personal, messages can get misinterpreted, things can quickly escalate and officers particularly, have to be careful about what they can and can’t say in the public sphere. Putting your head above the parapet is brave in many respects and we often see a whole load of criticism aimed at those that do it. That’s why today was so positive. It made me realise that most of those that use Twitter to engage in various areas of police work with various audiences do so for the right reasons. Mainly that they care. They care about what they do, the public and they care about their colleagues. Twitter is a great forum to get those messages out there whether through blogs, amusing pictures, humour or just the simple 140 characters.
We will never agree with everyone we meet – both in real life and in the virtual world – but I sense that most people who use Twitter and have a passion for policing want the same thing. That is for the police to deliver the best service to the public, to engage with the public about the reality and complexity of policing and to support officers themselves in doing a very hard, complex and varied job. Whatever process we individually believe will help the police do this is the area of contention perhaps. However what was and is clear is that everyone wants the same outcome. Fair, transparent, effective policing that engages with its staff and the public.
That is the joy of Twitter as it can help do that when done well. The guys that won today do it well. That’s not to say others don’t. They do. However it was so rewarding to see so many people recognised in an official capacity today in a relaxed, supportive and seemingly fairly rank free environment. The atmosphere was lovely.
I thank the organisers so much for for inviting me today. I think I was the only academic police person in the room which was honour. Particular given recent events!!! I loved meeting everyone in the real and thanks Rob for the lift to the station.
You all do such a great job. Have a fabulous Xmas, happy new year and if you are working it keep safe.
See you in 2017