Today, our Social Media Desk celebrates its first birthday…
The dedicated Social Media Desk was introduced to allow people to report non-urgent crimes or get advice online via Facebook and Twitter.
Following our leap into the digital age last December, the desk, which launched originally as a trial, was introduced to help Gwent Police become more accessible to the public, especially to the harder to reach and more vulnerable members of the community.
Gwent joins a small number of Forces in the UK that provides the 24/7 service after a successful trial last December when we saw over 6,000 messages go through our Social Media Desk DMs.
Since then, demand has grown along with the team, with 15 fulltime members of staff now working to provide around the clock cover in the Force Control Room in Police HQ.
- In September 11,406 messages passed through the Social Media Desk
- In October 9,287 messages passed through the Social Media Desk
Head of Force Communications Suite, Superintendent Vicki Townsend explains: “On average, Gwent Police receive between 1,000 and 1,200 calls a day. Between 750 and 950 of those calls are non-urgent and don’t require immediate police attendance.
“We know that we are in a fast-moving digital age and that in the last 10 years we have seen a significant shift in the way that people communicate with each other and we want to make sure that Gwent Police remains up to speed with those changes. Some people may find it easier to write down their report or question, and for some, picking up the phone would not be an option.
“We are committed to ensuring that our communities are at the heart of everything we do and we are constantly looking at ways in which we can improve our service to the public to become more efficient and effective and most importantly, accessible. We know that while some people will still want to use the phone, a growing number of people would prefer to use social media to make contact. By introducing a Social Media Desk that is available 24-hours a day means we can offer that level of service.”
“It also works as a great tool for us to push out important messages, advice and live-time incidents such as road closures.”
Some of the messages we have received over the year have included…
- Historic rape
- Domestic violence
- Intelligence - all of which are completely confidential
- Fail to stop road traffic collisions
- Stolen vehicles
- Anti-social behaviour
- Information about missing people
- Requests for updates on incidents and cases
Superintendent Townsend continued, “It’s been fantastic to see how many people have contacted us over the last year via our DMs. Anyone can message our main pages in English or Welsh, just search for Gwent Police or Heddlu Gwent on Facebook and Twitter.”