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Christine Smith Sussex Police

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Christine Smith Sussex Police

  1. 1. Op Rhodon: Using Twitter for operational policing purposes Christine Smith, Sussex police
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Chief Inspector Laurence Taylor </li></ul><ul><li>District Commander of Brighton and Hove </li></ul><ul><li>Already using Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Good relationship with local media and well engaged with wider community </li></ul>
  3. 3. Op Rhodon background <ul><li>March for England 25 th April 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Misunderstandings lead to protest from United Against Facism </li></ul><ul><li>Resulted in increased public order policing requirement </li></ul><ul><li>Main aim: facilitate safe and peaceful protest </li></ul>
  4. 4. Corporate Communications strategy <ul><li>Media Relations approached to include social media strand to strategy </li></ul><ul><li>First time Sussex police use social media in a proactive operational way </li></ul><ul><li>Important to engage wider community normally using traditional media a secondary information source </li></ul><ul><li>Deal positively with rumour and misinformation </li></ul><ul><li>Explain police presence and reassure community </li></ul>
  5. 5. Practicalities <ul><li>Followed command structure of operation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gold: Head of Media Relations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Silver: Media Relations officer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bronze: Twitter operator </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Twitter operator enabled with iPhone using HootSuite </li></ul><ul><li>Gold and Silver based in operations suite, Bronze both out on ground and at suite </li></ul>
  6. 6. Method <ul><li>Gained cooperation of traditional media </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate and ongoing scanning of online chatter </li></ul><ul><li>Identified key influential online opinion formers to engage with in a timely fashion </li></ul><ul><li>Operator picked up on the ‘human aspect’ of the policing of the event by Tweeting photos </li></ul><ul><li>Counteraction of media reports e.g. congestion in city centre </li></ul>
  7. 7. On the day <ul><li>Element of dynamic media management dependent on chatter and events on the day </li></ul><ul><li>Huge surge in followers </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in re-tweeting </li></ul><ul><li>Photos captured ‘normality’ and ‘human aspect’ of event </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to play down police presence and justify necessity </li></ul>
  8. 8. Chatter <ul><li>Used search keywords such as ‘BNP’, ‘March’, ‘Brighton’, ‘Police’, ‘UAF’ </li></ul><ul><li>Most comments derogatory towards BNP, despite no link between MFE and BNP </li></ul><ul><li>Only negatives to police were questioning numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Positive reaction to both policing and Tweeting </li></ul>
  9. 9. Key points <ul><li>Timely responses </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt firm lines to take on key areas e.g. rumour management, incitement of violence or unlawful protest </li></ul><ul><li>Use photos sparingly, but with impact </li></ul><ul><li>Clear definition between what is intelligence and what is chatter that needs a corporate communications response </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid engaging in contentious debate </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to update lines quickly and dynamically </li></ul>
  10. 10. Nick Cloke, Head of Media Relations <ul><li>&quot;Before the event, social media helped us correct misinformation and contain speculation, to the extent that we could negotiate with traditional media not to publish any stories in advance as this would enflame the situation and add credibility to rumours. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;On the day, we combined immediate online updates and ongoing liaison with journalists at the scene to ensure reporting was quick, accurate and fair across all communications channels.&quot; </li></ul>
  11. 11. Chief Inspector Laurence Taylor “ As a recognised district commander in the local community, I was able to give a personal feel – not just the corporate line.” “ Getting live time experiences from the Twitter operator enabled me to shape my operational response throughout the day”
  12. 12. Lessons learnt <ul><li>Police officers who were front line need to have a greater understanding of the method of engagement and who is doing the tweeting </li></ul><ul><li>Having confidence in being able to react accordingly to fast time incoming comments </li></ul><ul><li>Need to assess if every event requires Tweets </li></ul><ul><li>Risk assessment for comms officers deployed on front line </li></ul>
  13. 13. @sussex_police @cinsptaylor @sc2221 @nickcloke

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