Suffolk Police have taken to Twitter to demonstrate the level of demand across the force during an average December day by holding a 24-hour Tweetathon.
The event ran from 7am on Thursday, December 14, and saw volunteer police officers and staff tweeting details of as many calls as possible as they came into the Constabulary’s Contact and Control Room (CCR).
We are delighted with the response to the Tweetathon, with an overwhelming number of people engaging with us in real-time and asking questionsChief Inspector Matt Rose
Using #SuffolkLive, a total of 464 police incidents were created within the 24-hour event, with 248 calls received to the 999 number and 500 other enquiries dealt with. These included calls to the non-emergency 101 number.
461 tweets were issued by @SuffolkPolice, which reached more than one million people online across the county, nationwide and even further afield, and which received over 535 re-tweets and more than 1,173 likes.
Chief Inspector Matt Rose, who leads the CCR, said: “Opening up our operations through Twitter has been a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the diverse range of incidents, crimes and issues our call handlers, radio operators and officers deal with on a daily basis.
“We are delighted with the response to the Tweetathon, with an overwhelming number of people engaging with us in real-time and asking questions.
“The aim of the day was to raise awareness of the work we do, whilst also building confidence and understanding in local policing.
“The majority of our communities still think our work is predominantly about traditional policing, and responding to reports of crime, but the demand we face is far wider than this, covering all areas of community safety, vulnerability and safeguarding. The Tweetathon was a great way for us to highlight this, whilst also encouraging people to consider how they contact us and to reiterate how police telephone numbers should be used.”
Suffolk Police said the volume and nature of calls was consistent for a Thursday at this time of year.
Peak times for calls were over late afternoon and early evening. There was a lull in the early hours of the morning to reflect that the majority of us are tucked up in bed between 2am and 5am.
Chief Inspector Matt Rose added: “Unfortunately approximately 40 per cent of calls received during the Tweetathon were not police matters, which reflects the national average, including someone calling us on the 999 emergency number reporting their phone wasn’t working properly.
“Between April 2016 and October 2017, we received a 22 per cent increase in 999 calls compared with the year before. As technology evolves it’s important that we continue to make it as easy as possible for the public to contact us with report non-urgent matters.”
Those with non-emergency situations are urged to refer to the Constabulary website before calling 101, which holds a host of information: crime prevention advice, a reporting facility for non-injury road traffic collisions and incidents of anti-social behaviour, as well as details of how to contact the correct agency for queries around noisy neighbours, lost property such as pets, or road maintenance such as faulty traffic lights or potholes.
The website will not replace either 101 or 999, but offers members of the public with an additional option to report an incident.