The Thick of It


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Policing of TUC march

Yesterday I gave my comments to the Sunday Times and praised the way that the Metropolitan Police managed Saturday's main TUC march. I know there are other issues regarding the UK Uncut protesters and how they were policed. One problem with the latter is that some people were committing crimes which gave the police an excuse to arrest many of them. Back on the main march there was a family, almost carnival, but serious, atmosphere.
The police clearly tried harder here than they did with previous protests. The Met also tried to embrace social media to give marchers the opportunity to feed back their views on how they were being policed. Commendable, but it didn't work as the survey that they tweeted went down on Saturday morning. It only went up again when the Sunday Times contacted the company running the survey.

The police have moved on and demonstrated willing by opening themselves up to feedback. However, when an organisation takes first steps into social media they have to do it properly. Now the Met have paint on their face, just like their officers, as their foray failed.

If you pay for The Times you can read the article. If you don't, here is what I said:

Labour blogger and social media expert Tim McLoughlin, who was on Saturday’s march and praised the way it was policed, said the Met had much to learn about using the internet to communicate with the public.

“As someone who helps companies embrace social media getting the police to use it to better communicate with the public is commendable. However it is only worth doing if you know how to use it and that the survey site was down at the weekend suggests a lack of thought went into the Met's efforts,” he said.

McLoughlin also criticised the nature of the survey, which is based around multiplechoice questions and offers no opportunity for written answers.

“The survey doesn't give much scope for people to deviate from the small number of set questions asked or to give other feedback. For that the traditional, non-social, channels are the only means to communicate this to the Met.”

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