BBC: Police forces 'struggling' to grasp social media
Police need to be more proactive on social media to get the public on side and gather information needed to solve crimes, a report has found.
The Open Source Communications Analytics Research Centre (Oscar) said approaches to social media were fragmented and some forces struggled to keep up with technological advances.
Oscar is led by Cardiff University and funded by the College of Policing.
The college said the findings were "important".
The work examined how social media and other forms of publicly available "big data" are changing, along with how police investigate crimes and respond to critical incidents.
Martin Innes, professor of police science at Cardiff University, said: "We found the police service is really struggling to keep up with the changes and disruptions that are being caused by social media in particular.
"A lot of organisational systems and processes were designed for the last century rather than the new century and so a lot of policing needs a radical rethink to take account of the information age.
"I think it's about responding to the dynamics of social media rather than trying to fit it in with the processes and systems which they used in the past.
"It's not just a question of putting out press releases and hoping that works. You've got to find ways of communicating with the public in the public's terms that convey the messages you want to get across."
Media captionMartin Innes, professor of police science at Cardiff University, said it was about building trust with the public
Prof Innes said one or two forces were using social media "really well" but it was not the mainstream position which researchers found "surprising".