Image Source: PSNI


Social media have changed many aspects of public and privates lives and directly impact public security.

Therefore, LEAs adopt social media and understand the relevance for their work and we consider the adoption of social media by public security organization in itself a best practice.

  • The use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube is allowing the interaction between the citizens and the police as we detail in ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION.
  • Social media also provide a data source for investigations, as we detail in CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS.
  • Social media can also support ENFORCING THE LAW and INTELLIGENCE activities of LEAs.
  • In our interviews and in previous work, we did not find a single LEA that chose to adopt social media and later considered that a bad decision. Instead, we find that organizations that initially only used social media for a particular event or only for a special purpose, later kept using it and adopted in broader ways than originally planned (the German Frankfurt police e.g.only used Facebook temporarily but now runs a permanent Facebook presence at
  • Reasons for LEAs for non-adoption of social media in investigations are restrictions that do not allow to access social media from the workplace. According to Lexisnexis, access is the single biggest driver for non-use in investigations, a factor that has increased from 2012 onwards:
  • The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) introduced social media around 2011 in a bid to engage more meaningfully with the community they serve. PSNI ran a pilot scheme with Facebook pages in a number of areas before rolling out Facebook and Twitter to all Districts in Northern Ireland. There are currently 32 PSNI Facebook accounts and 35 PSNI Twitter accounts. As PSNI’s social media use has developed they have also introduced a corporate Instagram account and a corporate Youtube account. Engagement over the social media channels has grown steadily and PSNI currently have a social media following of 612,805 people in a population of 1.8 million.
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