COMMENT:

I see the NZ Police are under fire for - wait for it - using Instagram.

Apparently their use of social media is getting just a little bit "fluffy", which critics say could undermine the seriousness of their messages.

Their Instagram account content contains everything from police dogs to safety messages, but also, unfortunately for the wowsers, it contains jokes and the occasional - brace yourself - emoji.

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I know right? Scandalous.

Well it would be if it was 1952, which it isn't. It's 2019.

We live in a digital age, a time of social media and instant connection and the removal of barriers. You want to communicate directly to people? You do it on social media.

It's the only media you own and you can control. It's why everyone from athletes to celebrities to politicians to businesses use it.

It cuts through the middle man, it's your message undiluted, fed straight to your followers – ie those actually interested in hearing from you.
Not interested? Don't follow.

Turns out lots of people are interested in the NZ Police. More than a million Kiwis have Instagram, over 56,000 of them follow the police.

Their Instagram bio says it's the official account for the NZ Police, and 'pawlice' as they put it, given it also includes cute snaps of the police dogs. One pic, probably tipping right into the critics' category of "too fluffy'" is police dog Ice wearing orange sunglasses.

It's cute and also runs the risk of being funny. Oh dear. It's also providing cut through for the police who are – shock, horror – also people.

The criticism comes from an AUT lecturer in marketing who, according to one report, claims police need to be careful they don't "drift away from the core image of the police brand".

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But isn't the core image of the police brand also that they're people too? Ones who need to connect with the public? People who, yes have a serious job to do, but also rely on the public's help and support a lot too.

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Rolling into the new year like..

A post shared by NZ Police (@newzealandpolice) on

Growing their 'brand' on social media seems smart and business savvy. It connects them to more people, it helps more people engage with them, also crucially it demystifies the role of police and may encourage new recruits.

Sure, if Ice the police dog gets a sunglasses sponsorship out of this and ends up a canine influencer, then we may have a problem.

But for now, I don't see the police being on Instagram as anything other than a good thing.