A groundbreaking way of connecting with local residents by three of Cardiff’s Neighbourhood Policing teams hit the ground running tonight.
As the teams from Roath Police Station, which covers the Splott, Adamsdown and Tremorfa areas, went on their nightly beat they were connecting with the public face-to-face as well as through social network website, Twitter.
The Heddlu eStreet event was launched last night, and it is hoped that Neighbourhood Policing Teams across Cardiff and the rest of South Wales will soon adopt a similar interactive initiative.
PCSO Fran Richards who covers the Splott area, is a fan of Twitter and thinks that to use it for policing purposes can only introduce them to a new generation of residents, who may not want to get up and go to a Pact meeting to discuss policing issues with officers and councillors.
She said: “I wanted to get in touch with my local PCSO, where I live, and I couldn’t make the Pact meeting so I had to go onto OurBobby.com and send him a direct message.
“With Twitter you can get direct access, you’re likely to get more of an instant response. Pact meetings are worthwhile too.”
While out on the beat, PSCO Richards had already had enquiries via Twitter regarding here whereabouts.
Some of the other tweets – messages on the Twitter website – from the swpolice, the official Twitter page for South Wales Police, account said: “Local cyclist given crime prevention advice by PCSO Andrew.”
Followers of the swpolice account were also told that officers had spoken to youngsters on Splott Road after there had been complaints of youth annoyance earlier in the week.
Reaction from the public was generally positive – from members in Cardiff to followers in Vancouver. Twitter user Gareth Young said: “Great idea, like the event. Keep up the good work.”
But Carl Kendrick was more sceptical he said: “Swpolice tweeting where they are #heddluestreet is it giving criminals a leg up?”
“They know exactly where the patrol is, no need for look out.”
Police spokesman James Harper pointed out that while one patrol may have their whereabouts “tweeted”, but there are several teams on patrol in any given area at one time.
He said: “We’ve had a lot of positive comments from local people, one said ‘police presence in Splott is always visible-I just wondered why there were so many out tonight!’ It’s been a great start to the initiative.”
D0 you live in the area? Did you tweet the cops? Let us know your views on this new project in the comments below