Malmesbury Police join the social network generation
FACEBOOK rows have been blamed in the past for taking up a disproportionate amount of police time.
But officers in Malmesbury have turned the tables and are using the online social network to reach the parts of society that traditional methods often do not.
The Malmesbury Police Facebook page has attracted 400 viewers and almost 70 “likes” since it went live a few weeks ago.
Acting Insp Martin Alvis recently used the page to make an appeal to young drivers using the Station Yard car park to be more considerate towards residents. The status update attracted one disparaging comment.
But he told the Standard: “Our Facebook is reaching over 400 people in the community and a lot of those are young people or people that may know someone of that age who may consider using the station yard car park or are using it.”
Complaints of antisocial behaviour and late night noise have long plagued the car park and it is one of the most heavily patrolled areas of the town.
If the cruisers could be educated away from breaking the law it had to be more effective than labelling them with needless prosecutions that could hinder their future job prospects, he explained.
“The education process - including the fair warning issued on Facebook - goes side by side with the enforcement. Officers will continue to do this, but why stick a sticky plaster over something hoping it will go away when in reality we know that bringing people to justice isn’t the end to crime and antisocial behaviour?”
He added: “The comment made by the person concerning our method of communication could be seen as slightly dated in our approach to modern policing methods that have seen Malmesbury become one of the safest towns in Wiltshire.”
The initiative has also won backing from Wiltshire Councillor Simon Killane who defended the post.
“Malmesbury has some of the lowest crime rates in all of the UK, They must be doing something right.
“I know of about 600 people who are using Facebook as a regular means of communication in Malmesbury. This is a great way to communicate with local people about crime and policing issues,” he said.