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Policing & Tweeting the rise and fall

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Policing & Tweeting in recent months has been subjected to lots of debate, There are four types of policing and tweeting accounts.

  1. The Corporate accounts with the big followings and the blue ticks
  2. The individual officers who have worked hard to build up accounts up by engaging with the public
  3. The anonymous officers behind the smoke screens, without these we’d not see every coin of policing.
  4. The divisional accounts and team accounts.

We’ll make our views a little clear when it comes to Tweeting and Policing, We don’t usually comment on the politics of things, But we feel we need to make the public aware that accounts are being shut down daily.

Corporate tweeting builds the foundations, But Officers turn them into homes and welcome us in. 

Corporate tweeting is also a good start for policing and tweeting, it allows the forces media teams to send out one clear message, Launch appeals and reduce the prospect of fake news, they can speak directly to followers but lack that human to human contact.

The individual officer accounts, are loved by many and show members of the public the human side of policing they enable communities to break down the barriers that the corporate accounts offer, on a scale that cannot be achieved anywhere else.

The Anonymous accounts, Well we know these accounts are well respected but don’t want to be publically named they can say the things the individual officer accounts would not really get away with and expose some of the more trending policing topics across social media while offering great support and context for the thin blue line. We have a lot to learn from these accounts and often a lot to fear.

The Divisional accounts are not a new thing, many have been going for years, but mainly set up by officers who did not want to put their name to the social media accounts, cops who wanted to tweet but from the screen of the divisional team or unit. There are many fantastic divisional and team accounts engaging in such a brilliant way but these are manned by as little as one or two people.

Personally, Police Hour is looking for positive social media, social media that shines a good light on the great communities the police officers work in and the great work that the officers are doing. After all, not everyone is bad, We don’t want to see the negative tweets we want to celebrate policing and work together in a light that is supportive of the thin blue line.

The Rise 

In 2006, Policing Professional Standards teams would hunt out officers, they’d arrest them and discipline them they’d be forced to remove the account and we are talking about accounts with over 35K followers, for those that remember Das Beard.

This happened because simply the police had no idea about the power of Twitter and how good it could be as a force for good.

Then one day Twitter was a thing, Twitter within policing meant something, the corporate accounts began piling on to Twitter launching and opening their own Twitter Accounts.

Tweeting and Policing was suddenly something that worked, and all of a sudden hundreds of officers were encouraged to open accounts, Tweeting was trendy and we think that was down to the hard work of the Police Twitter Awards team.

The Fall

At some point towards the end of 2017, the powers that be within Policing believed that knocking off one account at a time would go unnoticed, The official standpoint would be ‘We are not banning officers from Twitter, We are changing the way we tweet’ so, in a nutshell, they are forcing policy in the faces of policing and tweeting accounts and saying they must stop tweeting on their personal accounts which have in some cases earned followings of up to 30K people to be switched to a shared account with no followers so they can start again and build everything up from nothing for the good of the ‘corprate teams’

It sounds more professional doesn’t it, of course, it does in fact if you are a bit of a pen pusher the idea is fantastic. Let’s crush thousands of established twitter accounts and force the officers to simply switch to ours that does not yet work,

Honestly, if you think these officers are going to want to keep tweeting after being banned from using their own accounts you’d really need to think again.

The truth is the public love the individual officer accounts, they’ve done such a fantastic job at engaging the public and providing the online world has no barriers when it comes to human to human contact, without the corporate side of things.

We all know these anonymous and named accounts pose no risk to policing and tweeting and are actually the accounts that restore and maintain the public faith in policing, these are the people we support, laugh with and cry with along the way.

Policing voices are being silenced under new social media policy

Somewhere in policing someone hates social media and does not like the way in which it is increasing confidence within policing and breaking barriers because policing voices are being silenced and shut down.

Policing and Twitter has enabled police officers to communicate with their communities like never before, increasing engagement, building bridges and ensuring members of the community can see highlights of what is happening within their local community, adding a personality to the local policing team and simply making people smile.

They enable members of the public to see that our police officers are just like us and that they are actually human with a sense of humour, But Professional Standards and force policy are putting a stop and attempting to kill the strong policing tweeting community they are silencing a large number of accounts.

Many Police Inspectors, Police Officers and Special Constables are finding they are being called into the offices with senior management teams and being forced to hand over the passwords of their accounts, or shut down their twitter policing accounts.

In a time of police cuts, POLICE HOUR believes this is the real reason that officers are having their voices taken away, they simply do not want the public to see the real picture. The once highly supported accounts who have been fully approved via the internal forces processes are now in certain forces being shut down.

Despite this officers are even being forced to lock down their own accounts or close them completely, controlling the way officers are using social media.

Very few forces actually get the benefit of social media 

Some police officers out there who tweet are very lucky and find themselves supported by their police force, because these forces have truly grasped technology with the right guidelines in place to encourage tweeting in the right way.

It’s all about learning what you can and can’t say on social media and when it all goes wrong it’s simply a mistake, a simple tweet and these should be supported by senior officers in forces.

Many forces do support these because when they get it right the power of Twitter can be amazing and engage communities and people across the world like never before in creative ways and in ways the public can relate too.

How can a police officer become a police tweeter?

Police Staff and Police Officers can apply to run their own Twitter account, but they must follow forces internal policy and submit a business needs request in order to run an official account, and they must then face the senior management team and a decision will then be made by the chief constable based on the reasoning for wanting to open a policing twitter account. It’s not an easy road.

Connecting all the cogs. 

Why fix something if it’s not broken. There is a need for the corporate divisional accounts, but why not let the officers still keep their private accounts tweeting they way they tweet and then achieve the vision of the new divisional accounts all the cogs need to keep working otherwise the wheel is going to fall off.

The good work of these tweeting accounts need to continue and we need to ensure we get behind and continue to support the very quickly disappearing popular accounts going daily.

Tweeting on an individual level also has a weight of personal responsibility attached that can only be limited to that named officer which would be limited to a few comments about the force whereas tweeting on corporate account risks the reputation of the force rather than just the name officer.

Do let us know your views on Tweeting and Police by dropping @PoliceHour a tweet.

Let us know your views by tweeting @PoliceHour We'll feature the best tweets within the article.

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Police Hour has hit over 2 million readers a week every week for over six months

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Police Hour has grown from a small startup to something that really means something. We’d just really like to take a moment to thank you and let you know what has been happening behind the screens on the amazing journey you’ve supported us down.

Back in May we secretly established office space in Hartlepool and spent more time focusing on Police Hour, and since may our weekly readers have never dropped below 2.2 million unique readers, That is all thanks to you for staying with us or joining us.

We’ve been building our servers and increasing the speed in which you can access our site, we silently launched a new look website and focused on technology and working closely with Facebook, Twitter & Google to establish some connections and contacts. Along the way, we have met some fantastic people who offered us some great advice.

Our aim back in 2014 was to provide balanced non-sensationalised policing news that was reported in a positive way for Police Officers nearly four years later we have outgrown our original aim, with many members of the community who support our front line police officers jumping in a supporting us.

We don’t share fake news and we ensure we do not publish in a way to encourage shares, clicks or clickbait and ensure we still provide a voice for front-line police officers, but due to our expanding demand and rapid growth have gone beyond these areas to offer content for those of you out there who are not police officers.

Over the past 12 months, We’ve been to many award ceremonies and even spoken at conferences about Police Hour something we did not think would ever happen.

The support we also get from the policing community is also amazing and we cannot thank all of these individual officers enough not only for the hard and challenging job they are doing but the warmth in the way they have welcomed police hour in to their hearts, We see the real side of policing the side that many do not get to see and we can promise you they are working non stop around the clock to make a difference for you and not for their own gain.

Supporting the thin blue line 

In the last six months alone we have together raised 20K for the families and officers injuries in major incidents in the line of duty, We have all stood up together shoulder to shoulder and supported these families, offering them some fantastic support.

This money has helped police officers get home and paid for rehabilitation to get them back to work, we are ever so proud of this and can only thank our readers for digging deep and supporting the thin blue line.

Keeping content free

As many news outlets within the policing world look to charge monthly and yearly subscriptions we’ll simply be keeping our content free and won’t be charging you or restricting our content, Although a lot of time and money is spent behind the scenes bringing our news to your screens we believe content should be free and you should not be faced with a paywall.

We’ll be ensuring that Police Hour will remain free, and it always will be.

What we are offering Police Officers. 

We’re really getting behind and supporting those of you out there who want to become police officers, and for the first time Police Hour will be offering all of you out there who aspire to become police officers free content and tools that we believe will help you pass the police recruitment process and stand you in good stead for the future.

We will start releasing further details about this in March when we hope everything will be ready to go.

Police Promotion

We’ve established some fantastic networking opportunities that enable us to support the front line in terms of police promotion, we now have a Steve Cooper on hand to offer you free promotion content that we believe will invest in your future or the way you think and approach things.

Developing digital content

Police Hour has invested thousands of pounds in technology that will enable us to release professionally produced video content, although we cannot say much about this at the moment we have been out and about filming in Hartlepool and other areas of Teesside.

News and content 

We believe that our news and content should remain fresh and remain supportive of the thin blue line, we believe it is so important to continue sharing missing people appeals of many which never reach the local media or national media.

We believe we should only produce content that we believe you will read, that we believe will add value.

We want to share news and write news that matters to you and your community. There is many more things happening behind the scenes that we can’t tell you about just yet but we do look forward in sharing them.

Simply to you and our 2.2 Million readers we’d simply love to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Let us know your views by tweeting @PoliceHour We'll feature the best tweets within the article.

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Leadership Grounded in Service Delivery by Steve Cooper

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We have teamed up with Steve Cooper Police Promotion coach to bring you free tools and resources to help with your Police Promotion prep, Steve Cooper is one of the leading police promotion coaches in the United Kingdom.

Thanks to Steve and his company Rank Success is able to offer Police Hour readers free promotion tools that other coaches would charge you for, thanks to our great relation with Steve we are able to offer you this advice, information and valuable police promotion information and advice absolutely free of charge for the Police Hour readers looking for Police Promotion.

The focus of this exclusive editorial feature written by Steve Cooper is the ‘7 Things interview boards also look for in promotion candidates’ is knowledge of the policing environment you aspire to lead in.  Here are the 7 key traits which police promotion boards inherently value:

  1. Good awareness and understanding of vision or mission
  2. Self-aware, understanding personal values and development areas
  3. Demonstrates awareness of the current policing context
  4. A response that goes beyond the theoretical
  5. Able to evidence leadership impact in & beyond your team
  6. Well-structured and considered responses
  7. Demonstrate strong leadership skills grounded in service delivery

Thing 7: Demonstrating Strong Leadership Skills, Grounded in Service Delivery

“Know what it is you are trying to accomplish and ensure others involved know the same.” – Patrick D. McGowan

All Bound for Mu Mu Land…

Leadership and Service Delivery are concepts featuring in all UK police promotion frameworks; the Competency and Values Framework (CVF), Police Promotion Framework (PPF) and the Metropolitan Leadership Framework (MLF). You can read a summary of CVF/PPF/MLF here, where you will learn they are not to be confused with the ‘Justified Ancients of Mu Mu Framework’ (KLF). I digress… These frameworks are key expectations of both Sergeant and Inspector roles.

The promotion board will of course have a marking guide and six or so questions for you, based on the rank competencies.  Adhering to the relevant competencies of the rank you aspire to in your verbal responses is a good strategy. This is almost always based on a sound understanding of your force promotion framework and aligning your own evidence to it.

So when it comes to service delivery, what indicators could a promotion panel consider when deciding whether to promote YOU instead of ‘A. N. Other’ candidate they may interview? This blog will take you through some of the human considerations of these supposedly ‘objective’ competencies.

Focus on Delivery

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James

Who why what

A ‘focus on delivery’ (internally and externally) is one indicator of potential. In raising your awareness around this, it may be helpful as part of your wider preparation to think through and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you someone who consistently sees things through to completion, delivering against challenging deadlines? 
  • Do you go above and beyond what is expected to get the job done? 
  • Do you take opportunities? 
  • Do you step out of your comfort zone to try new ways of doing things? 

I suspect the answer to all of these is a resounding yes. In the interests of preparing yourself ahead of a promotion opportunity however, you might want to delve a little deeper by asking yourself these further structured questions against the ones outlined above:

  • When did I do this? (CONTEXT)
  • What did I do? (SPECIFICS)
  • How did I do it? (ALIGNED TO COMPETENCIES)
  • Say to yourself “So what?” (RESULT / OUTCOME)

Spending some time reflecting like this can help you think through and develop some considered responses. You will be delivering these responses, to help the board see and hear that you are a candidate who considers and understands wider aspects. Someone who understands the role.

The Role

“When we all play our part the world will run as designed. Do your part, do it now!” – Temitope Ibrahim

What do you know about the role of Sergeant/Inspector? Everything or nothing? In truth it’s likely to be somewhere in between. Clearly, the more you know and understand about it the better. But both the Sergeant and Inspector role have expectations and responsibilities around managing resources, e.g. time, money, people and equipment linked to how service is delivered or provided.

Ask yourself – When have I managed resources to deliver, improve or recover service? 

What did you do? How did you do it? Then say to yourself “So what?” 

That might sound a little blunt, but it’s a good way of holding yourself accountable in formulating your evidence; it’s of limited use offering examples without a result or outcome. By limited use of course, I mean scoring 2 or 3 rather than 4 or 5 (out of 5). Remember that ‘good, better, BEST‘ mantra??

Promotion to Inspector

Service Delivery – Internal

“Within the context of reducing budgets and changing demand, the police service can continue to provide service but it will have to be delivered in different ways. We are determined to be as innovative as possible in meeting these challenges.” – From Reshaping Policing for the Public.

It is the Sergeant who, based on job knowledge and experience, directs the daily work of their team. With this in mind, what is your responsibility to deliver service internally? You’ll be expected to impart shared values, standards and culture to those under your supervision and as an aspiring promotion candidate, you’ll have a good idea of the kind of working environment you want to foster for your team. One in which people feel supported and where they are free to innovate, thrive and excel. Why is this important?

To ascertain your focus around this, the board might want to hear about your leadership and how you will set, communicate and reinforce standards to ensure service delivery and promote ethical behaviour.

Service Delivery – External

“The police service is under unprecedented pressure, having to deal simultaneously with financial austerity and changing patterns of crime. The police need to better understand the changing nature of demand on their services.” – Rick Muir

The effective investigation of crime, alleviating anti-social behaviour in communities and keeping the public informed all drive and maintain public confidence.

As an Inspector your role will include delivering and implementing plans in addition to allocating and monitoring the quality and progress of work relating to these and other aspects of service delivery.

  • So what do you know about wider challenges the service faces, particularly relating to understanding and/or managing demand?
  • What is your force doing well at the moment?
  • What is not being done so well? Why?
  • How can things be done more effectively and/or efficiently?
  • What will you do as a new Inspector to help the organisation move forward?

Addressing some or all of the above points and questions will help to elevate your awareness and increase your focus around service delivery. The name of the game.

Let us know your views by tweeting @PoliceHour We'll feature the best tweets within the article.

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Promotion Interview Ahead? Don’t Let Al Capone Get You by Steve Cooper

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We have teamed up with Steve Cooper Police Promotion coach to bring you free tools and resources to help with your Police Promotion prep, Steve Cooper is one of the leading police promotion coaches in the United Kingdom.

Thanks to Steve and his company Rank Success is able to offer Police Hour readers free promotion tools that other coaches would charge you for, thanks to our great relation with Steve we are able to offer you this advice, information and valuable police promotion information and advice absolutely free of charge for the Police Hour readers looking for Police Promotion.

The focus of this exclusive editorial feature written by Steve Cooper is the ‘7 Things interview boards also look for in promotion candidates’ is knowledge of the policing environment you aspire to lead in. As a reminder, here are the 7 key traits which police promotion boards inherently value:

  1. Good awareness and understanding of vision or mission
  2. Self-aware, understanding personal values and development areas
  3. Demonstrates awareness of the current policing context
  4. A response that goes beyond the theoretical
  5. Able to evidence leadership impact in & beyond your team
  6. Well-structured and considered responses
  7. Demonstrate strong leadership skills grounded in service delivery

Thing 6: Promotion Interview Ahead? Don’t Let Al Capone Get You

“Be precise. A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin for error is small.” – Donald Rumsfeld

A police promotion interview is arguably the most important element of a promotion selection process. This post is about getting the structure right. Good structure allows the panel to witness your communication skills and abilities first hand.

The focus of this 6th blog in this series of ‘7 Things Interview Boards Also Look for in Promotion Candidates’ is well-structured and considered interview responses.

The good news is that the necessary skills and abilities can be learned and developed. Unsurprisingly, those who pay attention to this are candidates who tend to stand out. Indirectly, the board members are also likely get an appreciation and impression of your attitude and prior commitment to preparation. They may even ask, “What have you done to prepare?”

The board want to know:

  • Are you a good risk?
  • Do you have the right skills to take the substantive position?
  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you do the job?
  • Do you act and speak as a leader, supervisor and manager?

‘Well structured and considered’ hints at a level of preparation that goes beyond simply turning up on the day, hoping all goes well and ‘winging it’.

Avoid Al Capone

Typically you will be asked around half a dozen questions in a promotion interview.

Police promotion scattergun approach

If you prepare sufficiently, you’ll be better equipped to respond effectively. If you don’t prepare, you run the risk of defaulting to the ‘Al Capone’ approach.

This is where you find yourself ‘machine gunning’ your words in a scattergun, indiscriminate or haphazard way, hoping you are saying the right things. But inside you may secretly be wishing you had made more of an effort to prepare yourself.

The opposite approach is silence. Having lots to say, but nothing will come out because you are stuck: ‘Speaker’s block’ if you like. Nerves get in the way and the words just don’t seem to flow. Incidentally, this is one of the biggest fears expressed when it comes to interviews. A commitment to some smart preparation can avoid these shortcomings and support you in developing a more confident approach.

The board members will be writing down a summary of what you say. Time spent considering how you might respond is often the difference between success and failure. It also boosts your confidence, because you become more familiar with what is expected.

Sshhhh: Take a moment…

“Speak in haste, repent at leisure”

Listen to the interview question

Just because you have been asked a question by the board, that doesn’t mean you have to respond in a nanosecond. It’s important to listen first.Take a moment to register the question. Listening is a leadership and communication skill and it’s something that can be developed as part of your preparation. Good candidates are tuned into that.

Once you are clear about what it is that you have been asked, you may want to consider a short ‘opening statement’. This is a precursor to your main answer. It’s one way to buy yourself a little bit of extra thinking time, whilst still considering your main response. An opening statement is something I encourage all candidates to consider and it’s an approach that seems to work quite well.

You can see how an opening statement might be used in the example response featured below.

Structure, Structure, STRUCTURE!

“I thrive in structure. I drown in chaos.” Anna Kendrick

Structuring your response supports a professional delivery by keeping you focused on what you are saying and the order to how you are saying it. There are various structures you can choose so the important thing is to find one that works for you. Using structure supports your confidence, which in turn helps you relax and more easily convey your appealing credentials.

Structured interview responses

The following feedback from one of my clients, David, helps demonstrate the value of using structure…

“In my board I used STRUCTURE STRUCTURE STRUCTURE. The biggest boost I felt as I walked through the door was confidence in my preparation. This allowed me to relax relatively given the situation. As I relaxed, I felt my answers flowed and I was able to display passion and commitment. I am overjoyed at having attained the rank of Inspector”

One structure you might use is ‘STAR’. It is well known and used widely. It stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. It’s a commonly used aid to help ensure that your verbal responses include the necessary information the board need for scoring. STAR can be adapted, but note it doesn’t ‘fit’ all questions or scenarios, such as those which do not require an example.

Content

“By stretching yourself beyond your perceived level of confidence you accelerate your development of competence” – Michael Gelb

What you say is important. The dictionary tells us that ‘competence’ means the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. That’s what the board are looking to find out about you. Competencies communicate HOW the organisation wants people to behave in certain roles. Therefore the main ‘content’ of your responses will need to reflect the relevant competency or personal quality that each question alludes to.

This is where it pays dividends to do some homework on the frameworkyour force uses for promotion, e.g. the Policing Professional Framework (PPF), Metropolitan Leadership Framework (MLF) or the Competency and Values Framework (CVF).

I encourage my clients to not just know the framework, but also to understand it. A cursory read through is not enough. Becoming familiar with the competencies being assessed and being able to explain them, at least in summary, is a professional approach. Better performing candidates make that commitment to themselves. Once you have an understanding of the competencies, you’ll be able to verbalise and ‘make links’ to important issues including the role, mission, vision, values, adding value to your response.

Note: Some forces may provide the candidate with a hard copy of the questions at the start of the interview. Whilst that may make things easier in some respects, only well prepared candidates are likely to be able to exploit any potential this may offer.

Delivery – So what DOES an effective response look like?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” – George Bernard Shaw

Using STAR as the structure, you can see what an effective response might look like in the following example. This example was used successfully as part of achieving promotion to Sergeant. It’s a Constable to Sergeant level question, where the competency being assessed is Public Service from the Policing Professional Framework (PPF).

Here’s the PPF guidance:

[Demonstrates a real belief in public service, focusing on what matters to the public and will best serve their interests. Understands the expectations, changing needs and concerns of different communities, and strives to address them. Builds public confidence by talking with people in local communities to explore their viewpoints and break down barriers between them and the police. Understands the impact and benefits of policing for different communities, and identifies the best way to deliver services to them. Develops partnerships with other agencies to deliver the best possible overall service to the public].

Here’s the question:

“Please give an example of how you have built public confidence within the communities you serve”.

Pause: Let the panel members see you are thinking about & considering the question! And deliver…

Promotion interview delivery

Opening statement: “As Temporary Sergeant I am currently responsible for chairing meetings with partners, including council officials, housing providers and youth services. I know that alleviating antisocial behaviour in communities is a key driver of public confidence”.

Situation: “An increase in complaints arose recently because youths were engaging in ASB near homes occupied by vulnerable residents requiring repeated calls for service”.

Task: “My aims were to reduce demand and restore resident’s confidence”.

Actions: “Taking into consideration available resources, I implemented a proactive operation to tackle the problem. I utilised Police Community Support Officers supported by Special Constables. I considered a local dispersal order obtained via my Inspector, allowing officers to legally remove youths from areas. I personally briefed officers, focusing upon key offenders. I instructed that reports concerning enforcement action were to be submitted so I could follow up appropriate referrals. I spoke with partners arranging for warning letters to be issued. Throughout the operation I considered victims, partners and local residents by updating them to build trust/confidence in my commitment to resolve long term problems”.

Result: “Analysis of this operation over a two month period showed a 50% reduction in calls for service. Residents acknowledged improvements individually and collectively at community meetings and further updates were published using social media for wider community impact. Utilising Special Constables for proactive policing in this way contributed to their collective duty hours being the highest across the area. My debriefing identified learning around future working practices for sharing joint agency resources more effectively, which I am currently developing”.

Insights:

  • The board may ask ‘supplementary questions’ to any main question. This is a means to ‘probe’ and get all the information required for scoring e.g. they may ask additionally, “What did you consider?” “What was the outcome?”. This can also be a way to encourage or support a nervous candidate who may have missed out some detail and who just needs a ‘nudge’ to connect with the rest of the information. The board want you to do well and this is a legitimate way help you get into your ‘flow.
  • The above is one example of what a well structured and considered response looks like. If you want to know what one sounds like and feels like, you’ll need to work through your own evidence and examples. Try it! If you don’t have any examples of your own to hand read this one out loud. Hear how you sound. Speaking normally it takes about two minutes. That’s a great start, but practising will fine tune your confidence and delivery. So don’t let Al Capone get you!

Taking Action…

All successful candidates have one thing in common: They took action.

If you are serious about preparing, why not download your very own digital guide NOW with 25+ structured examples of what works.

 

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