Merseyside Police has taken a further leap into the digital age by introducing a dedicated social media desk to allow people to report non-urgent crimes or get advice online.
In recent months the demand on the Force’s non-emergency 101 telephone number has increased significantly and discussions have been ongoing to establish how to reduce the volume of calls while still providing an effective public service.
For the past six months Merseyside Police has been the only force in the UK to staff a dedicated social media desk which allows the public to contact the police online 24-hours-a day seven days a week.
And since the pilot scheme was launched there have been in excess of 6000 significant contacts via the social media desk (Facebook and Twitter) and online reports – with demand increasing each month.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley said: “On average Merseyside Police receives 2,500 calls a day and we’ve established that between 1800 and 2000 of those calls are non-urgent and don’t require immediate police attendance.
“We are committed to ensuring that our communities are at the heart of everything we do and we are constantly looking at ways in which we can improve our service to the public to become more efficient and effective.
“We know that that we are in a fast-moving digital age and that in the last 10 years we have seen a significant shift in the way that people communicate with each other and we want to make sure that Merseyside Police remains up to speed with those changes.
“We know that while some people will still want to use the phone, a growing number of people would prefer to use social media to make contact. By introducing a social media desk that is available 24-hours a day means we can offer that level of service.”
Operations manager Tony Jackson said: “By setting up the social media desk we hope to take away demand on the 101 phone lines in the future and give people more choice and an alternative way to report non-urgent crime or get advice or guidance.
“The type of contact we receive ranges from concern for friends or relatives, advice on reporting crimes or suspicious behaviour or even if someone wants to contact us but doesn’t want to speak in person or feels more comfortable reporting something online.
“The desk has already created interest from 20 other national police forces who are looking at its development and we have had lots of positive feedback from the public who have used it.
“It also works as a useful tool for us to push out important messages, advice and live-time incidents such as road closures to an online audience.”
ACC Critchley added: “Whilst we are doing everything we can do to make our systems more effective I want to continue to remind people to contact us because they need us. We regularly receive calls on all sorts of issues such as cats up trees and blocked drains – these types of calls can put extra pressure on our call handlers.
“The social media desk is a non-emergency contact service and does not in any way replace the 999 service. People should continue to call 999 in an emergency.”
Call 999 if ANY of the following are the case:
A crime is in progress or you think it is.
There is a threat to life
A serious road traffic collision has occurred.
Violence is being used or threatened.
in a medical emergency – when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
Medical emergencies can include:
- loss of consciousness
- an acute confused state
- fits that are not stopping
- persistent, severe chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
Call 999 immediately if you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke. Every second counts with these conditions. Also call 999 if you think someone has had a major trauma. Major trauma is often the result of a serious road traffic accident, a stabbing, a shooting, a fall from height, or a serious head injury.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, the emergencySMS service lets you send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard. Register your mobile phone now; don’t wait until you need the emergencySMS service.
Call 101 if any of the following are the case:
You want to report a crime/issue that does not require an immediate emergency response.
Nobody is in danger.
You want to speak with a local police officer.
You want to provide information about a crime.
If it is not a life-threatening emergency and you or the person you are with does not need immediate medical attention, please consider other options before dialling 999:
- self care at home
- calling NHS 111
- talking to a pharmacist
- visiting or calling your GP
- going to a local NHS walk-in centre
- attending an urgent care centre or minor injuries unit
- making your own way to your local A&E department – arriving in an ambulance does not mean you will be seen any quicker
Choose the best service for your needs, as this will ensure the ambulance service is able to respond to the people who need help the most.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired you can textphone 18001 101