Twitter has been saying goodbye to some popular North Yorkshire Police accounts over the last few days, as the owners of such accounts have been asked by their bosses to shut them down.
It is thought that North Yorkshire Police have made the move to ‘centralise’ the information that flows out of the force.
However, many of the accounts, run by dog handlers and traffic officers, have been giving their followers a unique insight into what happens on the emergency services’ front line, without the perceived ‘corporate media’ filter being applied to such content.
The accounts being closed still adhere to the force’s social media policies relating to the content published on such accounts. For example, the identity of anyone involved in any of the incidents which have been shared by the officers remains anonymous.
One traffic officer, attached to North Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group, tweeted:
‘Like many @NYorksPolice pages, this one will be closing from tomorrow as we change to area accounts only.
‘Thanks to everyone who has followed me over the last few years.
‘Hopefully I will have access to the new accounts to keep you up to date with what @NYorksRPG are up to’.
Many people have expressed their anger and frustration following the closing down of the accounts.
One Twitter user said:
‘I for one very sad to see you, Paul and the other nyp individual officers accounts go. I enjoyed the crack , however I won’t be following nyp corporate accounts. Thankfully, I live in wyp force area, and prefer to follow my local police accounts. At I still have the choice here’.
‘It would be good to think you will be able to add to the updates, but I can only see this as a retrograde move by NYP, which is so disappointing after years of serving officers providing relatable tweets & up to the minute news on incidents in the region. You will all be missed’.
Some social media users have accused North Yorkshire Police of acting like a ‘Big Brother’, with one user noting:
‘I think this is wrong, making you all close down. Smacks of big brother. Going to miss you guys big time, thank you so much’.
Individual social media accounts have proven to be a big hit with members of the public who can get a glimpse into North Yorkshire Police officers’ everyday lives in a variety of different roles.
One Twitter user said:
‘There is a massive issue here. If you cease to be individuals what do you become? Let your bosses know how dangerous this is please. This isn’t going to end well’.
A statement released by North Yorkshire Police confirmed the following:
‘We are currently making some changes to our social media accounts across North Yorkshire Police.
‘We are doing this in line with recommendations from the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) on the management of police social media accounts which are based on public feedback and the National Policing Digital Strategy.
‘Behind the changes that we are making is the absolute imperative to protect our communities and our officers, staff and volunteers.
‘Despite stating that our social media accounts are not currently to be used for reporting crime, we carry the risk that crime and intelligence shared on our official accounts, or accounts that look like official police accounts, could be missed.
‘Alongside the NPCC recommendations, there is a need for us to ensure North Yorkshire Police and all other police forces are in a position to identify any crimes reported on social media in the near future.
‘Currently, our officers, staff and volunteers are at risk of missing such reports if they are not able to monitor their North Yorkshire Police social media accounts on a daily basis.
‘This could also place vulnerable members of the public at risk should they reach out via a North Yorkshire Police social media accounts and their concerns not be seen for several days or weeks.
‘The changes we are putting in place will see fewer North Yorkshire Police social media accounts in order to make it easier for our communities to find the latest updates from the force and what is happening in their area.
‘This will also enable us to respond to the issues that matter to our communities more quickly and effectively.
‘Currently, we are reducing our accounts which cover geographic areas and moving to eight district accounts. You can find these here.
‘They will continue to be managed by our local teams. Further down the timeline, we will be changing our approach to individual and specialist team accounts and this will be communicated moving forward.
‘Our many officers, staff and teams who already post and share social media content have not been banned from posting. We know that the public enjoy the insight into policing that these provide.
‘We will be asking them to share that engaging, interesting and personal content across our force wide and district accounts and some have already started doing this.
‘If they wish to, they will be able to include their name so the public still know who is the ‘voice’ behind the post.
‘By providing officers with access to our official accounts their ‘voices’ will be able to reach a larger audience.
‘These changes will improve the service we provide to our communities through social media, enabling them to receive the North Yorkshire Police content they need through fewer channels.
‘This is not a unique approach for North Yorkshire Police – other forces are already following this approach and have condensed their accounts resulting in an improvement in public satisfaction and feedback’.
The NPCC has also released a statement regarding the decision to centralise police social media accounts:
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