Cheshire Police are celebrating a social media milestone after gathering 100,000 followers on Twitter.
For the past seven years the Constabulary has embraced the popular social networking site to deliver news, highlight incidents and issue witness appeals to tens of thousands of Cheshire residents.
Twitter has been used to communicate a broad range of news, from the tragic to the humorous and from the serious to the downright bizarre.
Cheshire has become known for a style that is both informative and engaging, and in more recent times has hit local news headlines for its use of puns in some of its more irreverent updates – including news of a pony in the road who was a little hoarse, and the arrest of a shady sunglasses thief.
Among those incidents that have attracted the most interest are the Bosley tragedy, a warning of potentially lethal legal highs and a light-hearted ‘appeal’ for someone to claim their cannabis.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne is a keen ‘Tweeter’ himself. He said: “At Cheshire we pride ourselves in making the best use of technology to improve policing and make us more open and accessible.
“Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become an integral part of how we interact with our communities. They allow us to provide the public with information almost instantaneously, and are a tool to help deliver our messages directly to people.
“Our officers recognise this is a legitimate part of their relationship with the public, while it is also proving useful for gathering intelligence, informing the public of organisational developments and change, and encouraging people to report incidents to us.
“We have carved ourselves a reputation as a Force that communicates effectively with the public, as endorsed in the recent HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) report, and long may it continue.”
The 100,000 milestone relates specifically to the Constabulary’s main account. There are also accounts for each Local Policing Unit (LPU) as well as some of the specialist areas such as police dogs, roads policing, The Special Constabulary and some leaders within the Force.
And it’s not just Twitter that the Constabulary is making best use of. The Force’s Facebook account currently has almost 89,000 ‘likes’, while our Neighbourhood Alert messaging system has 16,000 subscribers.