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Northern Constablary officially launches its Facebook and Twitter pages

Issued: 1 Dec 2010

Northern Constabulary today pledged to extend its communication reach with the official launch of its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube services.

One of the most important target groups for Northern Constabulary is young people, who, on the whole, tend not to consume traditional media such as TV news, newspapers and radios.

Today Northern Constabulary recognised this fact as it officially launched the services at Police Headquarters in Inverness.

Deputy Head Girls at Inverness Royal Academy, Hayley MacMillan and Anna Fraser attended the launch to add the sites to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, as did Evelyn Sinclair, who is keen to pass on the information she gleaned from the launch to some of the older people she is in contact with in the Inverness community.

The Force was the first in Scotland to launch a presence on both Facebook and Twitter and has been offering the service, unofficially, for the past six months to gauge public interest in the services.

Due to the speed in which word gets around on the internet the Force soon gathered a dedicated group of followers, firstly on Twitter and laterally on Facebook which launch a month later.

Northern Constabulary currently has over 500 followers on Twitter and nearly 500 on Facebook and it is hoped that today's official launch will increase the number of people taking an interest in the work of the Force online.

The Force's Twitter and Facebook pages will feature a host of different types of information including updates on road closures due to road traffic collisions or weather, appeals for information in relation to crime, public safety and crime prevention advice and road safety advice to name but a few.

Police also want to allay fears of a big brother scenario, stating that "Liking," the Force's page does not give Police access to "private" user profiles on Facebook, which may have had the potential to put some younger users off following Northern Constabulary.

The benefits of following the Force's Twitter or Facebook pages include getting "real-time," information straight from Police, which could be invaluable to members of the public during a major incident.

And as smart-phone ownership increases so too does the ability to access Twitter and Facebook feeds on the move. Mobile Facebook is now in the top 20 of referring sites to the Force's website, which shows that more and more people are accessing the web through their phones.

The Force approached Highland Council's former Youth Convener Magnus Monahan some months ago to gauge the interest in the Police's service amongst other young people. The response the Force received was positive with many of the youngsters he spoke to saying they would consider follow the Force's feeds to keep up to date with what was happening crime wise in their area.

Speaking at the launch today the new Highland Youth Convener Gemma MacKintosh said: "I think creating these pages on Facebook and Twitter is fantastic. The reality is that many young people are using these sites and this is where you're going to get the best response.

"I believe the young people I'm in contact with have a strong desire to know about what's happening in their community and this is the way forward."

Head of the Force's Corporate Services team, Superintendent Philip MacRae, said: "The Force is thankful to have the support of local and national media organisations which help to disseminate important safety messages and appeals to the public for information.

"Large sections of our communities currently benefit from the service provided by newspapers, television, radio and news websites, although we feel we could be reaching more people using modern communication methods such as those offered by social media.

"We are delighted to be able to formally announce our presence on three different social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Through the appropriate use of this relatively new technology we have an opportunity to communicate with more people than ever before."

He added: "We value the contribution made to our communities by young people and we want to keep them informed, using modern methods, about the work we do and what is happening around them."

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/northern.constabulary or Follow Us on Twitter www.twitter.com/NorthernPolice Visit our YouTube page www.youtube.com/NorthernConstabulary

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme