WEST Midlands Police have joined the fast growing social networking website 'facebook' in a bid to communicate and engage with young people more effectively.
The force decided to join the site as part of a wider strategy, after recognising that young people spend a lot of time on social networking sites than they do reading or watching traditional media.
Earlier this year West Midlands Police joined 'You Tube', a video sharing website, and have since uploaded 18 videos which are a combination of crime prevention advice, campaigns and a behind the scenes look at policing videos.
The West Midlands Police 'facebook' site has been set up as a business page so anyone can view the site and become a fan.
The site contains the latest news and appeals, details of most wanted criminals, videos of operational policing and crime prevention campaigns. 'Fans' of the site will be sent regular updates and crime alerts.
Facebook page visitors can currently download 'no trick or treat' cards from the site, which politely ask trick or treaters not to call during Halloween. The cards form part of forcewide campaign, Operation Serene III, which aims to tackle seasonal anti-social behaviour and firework misuse around Halloween and Bonfire Night.
Head of press and public relations Chief Inspector Mark Payne said: "Young people are telling us that they want to be able to communicate with the police via facebook because it's a forum which they regularly use and trust.
"Our facebook page now allows people to do that, gives an insight into the work we do and gives young people a chance to help us fight crime. The page is already proving popular with the public and we hope that interest in the site will continue."
To find the facebook page search for West Midlands Police on facebook or follow the link on the West Midlands Police website www.west-midlands.police.uk.