Kiwi cops to tweet on the beat

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

New Zealand police are to join law enforcement officers from around the world in the first ever 24-hour "Tweet-a-thon" tomorrow.

More than 160 police Twitter accounts from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands and Finland will be tweeting descriptions of the jobs they attend over a 24-hour period.

New Zealand police officers will kick off the Tweet-a-thon, with Twitter accounts @BetterWorkStory, @ManukauPolice and @BOPPolice using the #poltwt hash-tag from 8am tomorrow.

Police stress that Twitter should not be used for emergency calls, and anyone requiring urgent assistance should call 111.

No information about identities, addresses and locations of incidents will be shared on Twitter.

Police general manager of public affairs, Karen Jones, said the Tweet-a-thon will give followers an insight into the variety of jobs police attend.

"Officers including general duties staff, Search and Rescue, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, CIB, dog handlers and road policing will share their shift through Twitter and provide a virtual ride-along for anyone to follow.

"I hope people will get an insight into the variety of work our staff are involved with. Of course they'll be tweeting about emergency responses, but I'm particularly hoping the public will learn more about our focus on prevention and victims."

Jones said social media has become an increasingly important way for New Zealand police to communicate with the public. As well as the Twitter accounts, many stations around New Zealand have Facebook pages.

"This is a unique event and I'm confident the Tweet-a-thon will showcase Kiwi style policing on a world stage and highlight why we continue to enjoy a trust and confidence rating of 82% by the New Zealand public."

The Bay of Plenty ran a similar exercise on New Year's Eve in Tauranga, acting district commander for Bay of Plenty Police Detective Inspector Tim Anderson said.

"It enabled us to interact in real time giving people an insight into the work we do and providing them with tips and information that will hopefully prevent them from becoming future victims of crime.

"The popularity of social media continues to grow so as a communication tool it makes perfect sense. We're looking forward to Twitter users joining us on this global venture and it will be interesting to see the similarities and differences between New Zealand and overseas law enforcement agencies."

Counties Manukau District Commander, John Tims, said social media and police are "partners in crime", with and the use of social media has become an everyday part of police business

"It's a great way to interact directly with our community in real time. By providing the public with tips and information it will hopefully prevent them from becoming future victims of crime," Tims said.

"We're looking forward to Twitter users joining us on this global venture."

- APNZ

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