45,000 join police for virtual ride-along

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

The Bay of Plenty police were joined on the beat by 45,000 people on Twitter for for a virtual ride-along during New Year policing.

The patrol ran from 7pm to 2am providing a real time snapshot of policing across Western Bay and advice to encourage safe celebrations.

The most retweeted event of the night was a car that struck a house, knocked down a tree and landed on its roof in Papamoa. Miraculously the driver and his passenger walked away with relatively minor injuries.

Alcohol was believed to have been a factor, Area Commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said.

The majority of the other incidents attended by the 'Tweet Beat' were alcohol-related such as drink-driving and disorder.

"It was a first for us so we had no idea how much interest we would get and were quite amazed by the response," Mr Paxton said.

"Throughout the entire shift we received a constant flow of messages commenting on the patrol and showing their support for the policing operation.

Policing can be a thankless task so it was good for the staff who were working last night to hear the positive feedback from the Twitter community."

Tweets came from as far afield as the Netherlands.

Some were clearly local with comments such as "we have the coolest police in the country" and others acknowledged the tough job that the police have such as "you guys are brilliant, brave AS".

"Tonight has proved how useful a tool social media can be for communication and we would certainly consider more virtual patrols in the future," Mr Paxton said.

- APNZ

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