Neighbourhood policing teams in Chichester took to Facebook on Thursday night (June 27) to update residents where they were tackling issues which mattered to the local community, the first time this information approach has been used by the Force.
In the week leading up to it, officers were asking people to contact them on the social media site to tell them where they were experiencing problems and on Thursday evening between 4pm and 11pm specific patrols visited those areas.
During the operation, neighbourhood policing team officers, along with special constables and community wardens from Chichester District Council, targeted their patrols in the areas the community has brought to their attention and gave live updates via Facebook and Twitter on the areas visited and the result of the visit.
Teams of officers were out across the entire district including Selsey, Chichester, Midhurst, Petworth and some of the more rural parts. In the seven hours, 97 different locations were visited, 43 location tags were made on Facebook and 26 pictures were added to the site.
Sergeant Alan Fenn said: “We have a huge following on Facebook, more than 4,000 friends, and we asked them to engage with us and tell us where they are experiencing problems. It could be anything from anti-social behaviour such as street drinking, problem youths, and mini motos to rural crime and thefts. We wanted to target areas where we may not have been previously been made aware of any issues affecting the local community.”
Inspector Will Rolls said: “This was the first time anything like this had been tried across Sussex and the eyes of the social media world were upon us. The result of this operation was seen in the fantastic response we saw on our social media sites and the huge volume of positive feedback received.
“While this was a focused evening of action, this is what we do day in day out. As well as this all of the information gathered during the operation will continue to be used by the local policing teams on their usual patrols to monitor areas in which our community tell us there is a problem.”