North Yorkshire Police is making some changes to some of its social media accounts – meaning popular ones run by individual officers will be axed.
Many police officers have built up huge followings, and even the Chief Constable Lisa Winward has one with 1,647 followers.
Traffic Officer Paul Cording has over 14,000 followers – but his account looks set to be closed under the new policy. The Chief Constable will keep hers.
The force says: “We are doing this in line with recommendations from the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) on the management of police social media accounts which are based on public feedback and the National Policing Digital Strategy.
“Despite stating that our social media accounts are not currently to be used for reporting crime, we carry the risk that crime and intelligence shared on our official accounts, or accounts that look like official police accounts, could be missed.
“Alongside the NPCC recommendations there is a need for us to ensure North Yorkshire Police and all other police forces are in a position to identify any crimes reported on social media in the near future.
“Currently, our officers, staff and volunteers are at risk of missing such reports if they are not be able to monitor their North Yorkshire Police social media accounts on a daily basis.
“This could also place vulnerable members of the public at risk should they reach out via a North Yorkshire Police social media accounts and their concerns not be seen for several days or weeks.”
This is not an approach unique to North Yorkshire Police – other forces have already condensed their accounts. They say this has resulted in improved public satisfaction and feedback.
‘A PR disaster’
However reaction on Twitter in North Yorkshire has not been very positive so far.
Former police officer and now author, Mike Pannett, called it a PR disaster.
Speaking out on his Twitter feed, which has nearly 22,000 followers, Mike said the decision was “withdrawing from communities, suppressing the human side of policing and increasing mental health issues by isolating officers. Madness.”
And this is what you have been saying in response.
Short sighted in my opinion. People like local police updates from their local PO, not a corporate stance.
Absolutely gutted you’ve made this weird backward step of cancelling personal accounts. We want to know what officers are doing. Not interested in sanitised corporate accounts or chiefs
The changes they are putting in place will see fewer North Yorkshire Police social media accounts and they claim that that will make it easier for communities to find the latest updates from the force and what is happening in their area.
Sorry I don’t want to follow your chief officers . We like engaging human stories from officers. Not corporately controlled , dehumanised , sanitised missives. If public will find you less often
There’s understandable logic there, but I think many people have enjoyed having being able to ‘know’ their local police through social media accounts and welcome the localised element. Shame if that goes.
Officers not banned from posting
A police spokesperson said “Currently, we are reducing our accounts which cover geographic areas and moving to eight district accounts. You can find these here.
“They will continue to be managed by our local teams. Further down the timeline, we will be changing our approach to individual and specialist team accounts and this will be communicated moving forward.
“Our many officers, staff and teams who already post and share social media content have not been banned from posting. We know that the public enjoy the insight into policing that these provide.
“We will be asking them to share that engaging, interesting and personal content across our force-wide and district accounts and some have already started doing this.
“If they wish to, they will be able to include their name so the public still know who is the ‘voice’ behind the post.
“By providing officers with access to our official accounts their ‘voices’ will be able to reach a larger audience.
“These changes will improve the service we provide to our communities through social media, enabling them to receive the North Yorkshire Police content they need through fewer channels.”