‘Radical rethink’ on social media for forces struggling to cope with systems rooted in last century
Forces are “really struggling” to keep up with disruptions caused by technological advances of social media, a report funded by the College of Policing argues.
A radical rethink is required to bring organisational systems and processes that were designed for the last century into the information age for the service.
One or two forces are using social media "really well" but it is not the mainstream position – which the Open Source Communications Analytics Research Centre (Oscar) study found "surprising".
The work by Oscar, led by Cardiff University and financed by the college, 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.
With approaches to social media “fragmented”, forces need to be more proactive to get the public on side and gather information needed to solve crimes, the report said.
The college said the findings were "important" while the university’s Police Science Institute director Martin Innes 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.”
Professor Innes added: "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.
"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.
"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.