THE FIRST EVER HUMBERSIDE POLICE VIRTUAL COMMUNITY MEETING took place on the (click link) Humberside Police website last night.
This was a ground-breaking effort to use the internet to reach a wider and different audience and seems to have been a success. Sgt James Main from the Neighbourhood Policing Team in Scunthorpe who facilitated the virtual meeting said on Twitter today: “A big thank you to all that joined in the live forum last night – a first for us – but it went really well and will be doing more.”
The virtual community meeting allowed those taking part to ask general questions about policing matters and concerns. Questions were quickly moderated and appeared on your computer screen and replies from Sgt Main came quickly after (a snippet of the web chat is included below):
Whilst one of the initial aims of the virtual meeting may have been to concentrate on a geographical area i.e. North Lincolnshire, one of the conclusions of the evening was that a topic-based forum might work best in the future – a debate on specific issues that would cater for a wider internet audience.
A more hyperlocal approach aimed at a particular area i.e. the Holderness area could work well, but the virtual community forum would probably have to be accompanied by a lot of local advertising so that local people knew when to log on.
The software used to deliver the virtual community forum was Cover It Live.
This innovative and welcome initiative by Humberside Police follows the force’s successful experiment to use Twitter which started in April 2011.
What do you think – is the internet a useful way to communicate with the police on non-emergency issues and concerns? Would you take part in a local virtual community meeting?