When I get to a crime scene, after all my initial thoughts (what’s happened, how can I help the victim, what evidence could I obtain etc) I then have to think about if this crime scene would be suitable and interesting for social media. If I tweet about a break in to a garden shed, it probably wouldn’t generate much interest. If I tweet about forensically examining a door key found with bones in a woodland, it might get a bit of publicity (picked up by the Daily Mail, and can be found in my blog).
However, I could jazz up a story about a garden shed break by hash tagging the area it occurred in. Mr Joe Blogs who lives in Hove may be interested if he finds out all these shed breaks are happening on his doorstep.
Social media is a great asset for me to help others. If a burglar has spotted a weakness to someone’s property through complacency, I can help advise others not to fall into the same trap. There might also be a series happening in a particular area, so I can warn people to keep vigilant.
“Attended a garage compound in #Rustington where 10 garages had been broken into” & “Please consider adding additional locks to your garage, and do not leave valuables within” – Both tweeted May 21st 2014.
A helping hand is always good to have at a scene. Instead of taking a picture of something interesting, I might get someone to take a picture of me taking a picture of something interesting! It can be hard for me to demonstrate what I do when I’m the only member of police at a scene. I only have one pair of hands, and not the best at multi-tasking.
Another limitation I have with social media is whether or not I could tweet about a certain subject. For more sensitive cases, I normally wait until after the court case to blog/tweet about the subject. I was waiting for a while to blog about the key/bones case. My tweets, like everyone else, could be seen to influence a jury, so if I know it’s a sensitive matter I will keep quiet until the case has concluded.
A trick I’ve found to generate lots of interest is post pictures with dogs, so I’m always happy to see the Police Dog Unit at a scene. I’m still waiting to meet the Arson Dog since I started tweeting. It’s just a shame dogs and forensics don’t meet more often!
If there’s anything you feel I can do to improve, please let me know. I’m always interested to hear how I can enhance my tweets and blogs. And I’m here on social media for you, so if you’re interested in what I do please get in touch.