Officers from Suffolk Police have been demonstrating the level of demand across the force during an average December by holding a 24-hour Tweetathon.
The event ran from 7am yesterday, 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).
Using #SuffolkLive, a total of 464 ‘CADs’ or 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 a million people online across the county, nationwide and even further afield, and which received over 535 re-tweets and more than 1,173 ‘likes’.
Many shared their thoughts and opinions, with people commenting their surprise regarding the number and variety of issues Suffolk Police officers deal with.
The volume and nature of calls was consistent for a Thursday at this time of year and, as expected, 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, 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. Unfortunately approximately 40% 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% 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.
Chief Inspector Rose concludes: “By using the online service, we’re reducing the pressure on our control rooms and allowing staff to focus on more urgent issues.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “I am delighted the Tweetathon was such a huge success as it was able to demonstrate the huge number and variety of calls received into Suffolk’s Control Room. I’d like to thank everyone involved in this great event.
“On a more serious note it’s vital people realise the different options they have for contacting Suffolk Police – emergency and non- emergency calls, through social media and of course directly via the new website. This helps the constabulary provide a more focussed response and setting the appropriate priority for each contact
“Making the right call is crucial and I hope there is now a better understanding of what issues are a police responsibility and which are not.”
For regular updates and information from the Constabulary, follow @SuffolkPolice, like ‘Suffolk Constabulary Official Page’ on Facebook or follow @SuffolkPolice on Instagram.