Image Source: CC license by https://www.flickr.com/photos/blondinrikard/14871682502
Personal interaction requires a smaller community of people to address.
Therefore, LEAs set up local accounts or specific channels/platforms to address a smaller community. Often, these accounts are related to a district of a city or a specific group of people (e.g. students).
In the Netherlands there are the following categories of accounts:
Neighbourhood accounts (Twitter, Facebook at minimum, sometimes YouTube or Instagram).
Then there are Twitcop accounts, some 2000+ accounts per local unit, sometimes just one neighbourhood twitcop, sometimes a combined account of 2 or three cops. Twitcops (Dutch National Police, http://wijkagent.twittergids.nl/). Research on community/neighbourhood officers using Twitter can also be found in the MEDIA4SEC deliverables D1.2. http://socialmediadna.nl/twittercops/
Then there are Theme accounts (on themes as burglaries, etc). Those are just police accounts.
Public prosecution also has accounts per region, sometimes a public prosecutor has a personal account and there are some theme accounts (such as human trafficking for example)
There are also account for special purposes: for example police helicopters have Twitter account (because people were complaining about the noise, they now tell on Twitter why they fly out). Other police, such as UK or US also have special accounts, for a K9 unit, or sometimes even the dogs or a horse has a social media account… (to improve the image) – https://twitter.com/PSNIAirSupport
Police Service Of Northern Ireland 32 Facebook accounts which include accounts for 30 local policing areas, a Roads Policing account and a corporate PSNI Facebook account. There are 35 Twitter accounts which include accounts for 30 local policing areas, a corporate account, a Roads Policing account, an Air Support account and accounts for the Chief Constable and one of our Assistant Chief Constables.
Initially Facebook accounts for each of the areas were set up as pages and ‘ghost’ Facebook profiles enabled users to post to pages however an issue was identified when the PSNI could not discern which user was posting to the page. Facebook also actively seek out ghost profiles and delete them, meaning that access to the pages was constantly at risk. This led to the introduction of social media management tool, Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows PSNI social media to be managed centrally. PSNI officers and staff have no access to social media through their common terminals so can only use their PSNI issue mobile devices (ipads or iphones). Social media is not accessible to users through their work mobile phones (Blackberrys) and they are not allowed to use their personal devices. Hootsuite is available on mobile devices on an app or mobile desktop version. The two versions feature different functions so PSNI social media users have to switch between app and mobile desktop to get full functionality.
The mobile desktop version is not easily viewed or used on a mobile phone. Complaints from officers who previously had access to the native FB and Twitter apps are frequent while users who have only used Hootsuite are rare. PSNI conducted a survey on Facebook and Twitter last year to ask the public in Northern Ireland what they wanted from PSNI social media. The majority of people surveyed indicated that they preferred a local police social media presence which provided local information about crime and police activities in the area they lived in. Local police officers and staff are trained to post on their local social media sites, ensuring that the community are engaging with their local police.
The Zurich city police has introduced two social media cops in 2016, the first German-posting online community policing cops: