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Police Authority puts Twitter on the beat

A member of Lincolnshire Police Authority will be tweeting a day out on patrol with a police officer on Tuesday, June 14.

John Atter, an independent member of the Police Authority, will leave behind his normal day in the boardroom and join an officer based in Lincoln for an entire shift.

Atter says that the purpose of the day is to talk to people: “During the course of that [day] we’ll be tweeting what goes on, and the aim is to give anybody who is interested a flavour of what goes on in the ordinary shift of a Lincolnshire Police response team. It’s a day-long conversation.”

Atter is “interested in any way that brings light on what the police are doing” and ways that “people can see what they are getting for their money”.

Although Atter confesses to not being a Twitter user himself, Lincolnshire Police Engagement and Communications Officer John Horton will be helping him to understand the micro-blogging site.

Horton said: “The idea is that I can tweet for John while he can focus on what is happening.

“While John will be telling me what he wants to say, it also means that we can get a few little videos and photos which is obviously a lot harder to do when you are just on your own.”

The day will be very different from a normal day for Atter, who says “it will be fascinating to go away from the strategic level and actually see what is happening on the ground”.

In 2010 Greater Manchester Police tweeted every incident that it dealt with over a 24 hour period. But Horton points out that this day will be different as it will be less factual and more about how Atter feels throughout the day from his perspective as a member of the Police Authority.

Atter also says that he comes to the day with no preconceptions as to what has been done before by police forces and Twitter: “I come to it as a completely blank sheet of paper and we’ll see where it takes us. I don’t see us being driven in any particular direction before we get out there, sit in the car and see what happens.”

If the day is a success, then it is likely that it will be something that Lincolnshire Police would want to try again in the future.

The shift begins at around 6.30 and to follow the day, or to contribute, then follow @LincsPA and use the hashtag #LincsTweetBeat. For non-Twitter users all messages will be published on the Lincolnshire Police website the day after the event.


Source: Lincolnshire Police | Photo: Samantha Fisher for The Lincolnite