SOLIHULL Police have staunchly defended their use of Twitter, following accusations that officers were investing too much time in social media.
A Sunday Times story raised concerns that updating Twitter pages was not a priority for forces at a time when budgets were being squeezed.
Solihull’s command unit – which posts regular updates on thefts, robberies, road crashes and other incidents - was used as an example in the article.
Typical tweets, mentioned in the story, include information on shoplifting offences in Shirley town centre and the Kingshurst Co-op. But the borough team had hit back at criticism, arguing that it was very important to keep residents informed of police activities.
Chief Supt Sally Bourner, who has her own Twitter account, said she had invited the Sunday Times to see how her team used the website. “We’ll keep sharing what we are doing, as building trust and confidence of local people is at the heart of what we’re about,” she tweeted later.
Asst Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who is responsible for Solihull’s local policing, also dismissed suggestions that tweeting was “a waste of time”.
Around 1500 people follow the @SolihullPolice account, while a number of senior officers and individual neighbourhood teams, such as St Alphege, have individual accounts.
Forces have been encouraged to make better use of the website and build a closer working relationship with the community in the wake of the riots last August.
Following last weekend’s article, several Twitter users contacted police in support of the work being done via social networking sites.