A “Tuítatona” 24h da polícia de Birmingham

"A nice view of our custody block. Complete with offenders footwear", posted by @bhamsouthpolice on Yfrog

No dia 27 de janeiro, a polícia da zona sul de Birmingham (UK) realizou uma “Tuítatona” – uma maratora tuiteira, que revelou bastidores de seu trabalho por 24h. O objetivo, de acordo com matéria do Birmingham Post, seria melhorar a comunicação para estar mais acessível à comunidade, além de informar ao público sobre sua rotina.  

As redes sociais têm uma especial relevância em Birmingham, se não em toda a Inglaterra – não são vistas apenas como uma forma de se manter em contato com os amigos, mas sim como um meio de divulgar projetos e ideias e até fazer business. Twitter, Facebook, blogs e sites são ferramentas básicas, seja você autônomo ou não. E tudo casa lindamente com as iniciativas hyperlocais, papo suficiente para outro post. Por isso, não é surpreendente que o inspetor chefe da polícia da região de West Midlands, Mark Payne, tenha até postado sobre a experiência em seu blog pessoal (leia aqui).

* * *

Às 7h, os trabalhos abriram com o seguinte tweet:

@bhamsouthpolice  Hello & welcome to the Birmingham South Police 24hour Tweetathon.Follow us to see what happens in a typical 24 hrs of local policing. #bsp24

Esse foi um dos primeiros tweets sobre o bairro onde morei:

@bhamsouthpolice  PCSO Rees is out on a high visibility patrol around Speedwell House, Kings Norton Ward. If you see him around, go and say hi! #bsp24

* * *

Para dizer a verdade, teve flood na timeline, mas foi bem interessante acompanhar desde pequenas coisas como “Fulano está patrulhando tal bairro agora” a prisões. A polícia vinha usando o Twitter como ferramenta há algum tempo para responder perguntas da comunidade e divulgar ocorrências, prisões e desaparecidos (eles também estão no Facebook). Mas, por alguns tweets, imagino que nem todos os seguidores entenderam a proposta e outros tiveram que receber um puxão de orelha:

@bhamsouthpolice Please dont use Twitter to report crime.Please call 999 in an emergency or 03451135000 in a non-emergency & ask to speak to your local team.”

@bhamsouthpolice We have started to follow our followers to allow direct messaging, but if you would prefer us not to just DM us and we will unfollow you.”

@bhamsouthpolice Hello all. We are committed to talking and discussing issues with you all on Twitter, however we will not tolerate racist, homophobic or …”

@bhamsouthpolice abusive language that may offend us or any of our followers. Anybody engaging in this behaviour will be blocked & appropriate action taken.

> Link da foto acima aqui

* * *

A iniciativa exemplifica como as redes sociais são levadas a sério na Inglaterra e como pode ser usada por empresas e órgãos – incluindo a polícia local – para manter contato com sua comunidade. 

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Before I published this post, I asked permission (by Twitter) for the South Birmingham Police in order to use the photo above. They kindly allowed me to publish it on this post and asked me for an English version of the text. Check it below (I did my best!):  

On January 27th, the South Birmingham Police did a “Tweethaton” – a Twitter marathon, which unveil the ‘backstage’ of their work for 24h. The goals, according to a news article on the Birmingham Post, were to improve the communication to be more accesible to the community and to report their daily basis work to the public. 

Social media has a special relevance in Birmingham, if not in all England – it’s not a way to keep in touch with friends only, but also a medium to report projects and ideas and even for business. Twitter, Facebook, blogs and sites are basic tools, if you’re self-employed or not. And everything matches beautifully with the hyperlocal initiatives, a topic that’s long enough for another post. That’s why the Superintendent Mark Payne’s post about the experience in his personal blog is not a surprise (here).   

 * * *

At 7am, the work started with this tweet:

@bhamsouthpolice  Hello & welcome to the Birmingham South Police 24hour Tweetathon.Follow us to see what happens in a typical 24 hrs of local policing. #bsp24

This was one of my first tweets about the neighbourhood where I lived there:

@bhamsouthpolice  PCSO Rees is out on a high visibility patrol around Speedwell House, Kings Norton Ward. If you see him around, go and say hi! #bsp24

* * *

To be honest, it flooded the timeline, but it’s so interesting to learn from simples things, as “Someone is on a patrol in this neighbourhood now”, to arrestments. There’s some time that this police unit has been using Twitter as a tool in order to answer questions from community and report events, arrestments and missing people (they’re on Facebook also). However, by some tweets, I could imagine that not all their followers understood the idea, and others had to be chided: 

@bhamsouthpolice Please dont use Twitter to report crime.Please call 999 in an emergency or 03451135000 in a non-emergency & ask to speak to your local team.”

@bhamsouthpolice We have started to follow our followers to allow direct messaging, but if you would prefer us not to just DM us and we will unfollow you.”

@bhamsouthpolice Hello all. We are committed to talking and discussing issues with you all on Twitter, however we will not tolerate racist, homophobic or …” abusive language that may offend us or any of our followers. Anybody engaging in this behaviour will be blocked & appropriate action taken.

> Photo’s link here

* * *

This initiative exemplifies how social media is taken seriously in England and how it can be used by companies and bodies – including the local police – to keep in touch with their communities.

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