Just a few weeks ago Eoghan O’Neill was writing on The Wall about how Tweeting UK police forces need to make a more relaxed attitude approach to social media. Surrey Police for one were certainly listening and this morning it is winning plaudits online as it lights up Twitter via its @SurreyPolice account pretty much like a Christmas tree with festive Tweets and advice done in rap.
This story is in contrast to the stories about the Twitter accounts of other police forces being “closed”. First there was a PCSO in Exeter who claimed that she had been “instructed to cease tweeting” following a complaint by a student guild. Devon & Cornwall Police explained that she had instead been offered training and the account is active again. Around the same time, a West Midlands officer was demoted, apparently due to Twitter misuse, while five Twitter accounts in Northamptonshire were abandoned following a HMIC inspection.
We have written here before about how other police forces have said how social media is a force for the good both as a way to spread vital information, such as in the case of the London riots, and for gathering intelligence and keeping the public informed of the work they do.
It’s refreshing then to see it used in a lighter way that is fun and inclusive that helps a force, in this case Surrey, put a humorous and human face to its social media. Other forces should take note.
You can see the rap talk above that seems to be going down very well in social channels, but Surrey have not stopped there. It has also been mixing more traditional Christmas messages…with a twist.
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why♪♪ 23 arrests – We don’t take an Xmas break #DeckTheCells
— Surrey Police (@SurreyPolice) December 11, 2012
This is mixed in with traditional appeals like this Tweet below. To be able to switch back and forth like that, between the humorous and the serious, shows a growing confidence and an ease, which is essential for any brand that is developing its social media voice.
Man in his 60s on mobility scooter seriously injured in collision in Egham Hill, Egham on Thurs afternoon.Can you help? surrey.police.uk/news/witness-a… — Surrey Police (@SurreyPolice) December 10, 2012
In addition to all of that Surrey Police have also been experimenting with ThingLink, which we wrote about on The Wall recently. This finger print is packed with tips.