The Revolution Will Be Tweet’d! By The Police?!?!

In USA on August 13, 2011 by CJ

…But pictures and personal information of those looting and rioting will be Tweet’d, Flickr’d and YouTube’d by the Metropolitan Police.

Police Want Control Over Social Media Networks

The recent riots in London have presented the authorities with another area of London to patrol… social media networks.  Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger have been labeled as the “culprit” behind the violence since it was the channel that looters and rioters used to organize the chaos that began a week from today.  The Prime Minister has assured that the Government will continue to “work with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people from communicating via these websites and services”.  The Home Secretary, police and representatives from the social media industry will meet to discuss how “to improve the technological and related legal capability of the police”. As well as discuss “whether and how they should be able to stop people communicating via these websites and services”.   The Government is supposedly looking at how to block individual users rather than shutting down entire services.

But In The Meantime

The Metropolitan police have begun to take social media networks into their own hands as a way of getting the attention of the locals that there are consequences for criminal actions as well as set an example and precedence and show others that criminal and violent behaviors are not tolerated. The authorities have utilized Flickr, YouTube and Twitter to publicize the repercussions of the suspects.


The authorities have released pictures of looters and rioters that they have collected from surveillance cameras onto a Flickr page.  They are petitioning citizens to assist them in turning in information regarding the suspects listed on this page.


The Greater Manchester Police have placed a video on their YouTube channel, of their officers fulfilling their promise of prosecuting offenders and arresting suspects that were involved in looting and rioting.  In the video below you will see the officers arrive at a suspect’s home and arrest him for his involvement.


Via the @GMPolice twitter handle, the Greater Manchester Police have also begun to tweet the details of those that have been arrested for looting as well as evening releasing their personal information such as full name, birthdate, sex, and the items they had stolen.

To Sum It All Up

The police are in a holding pattern as far as how they can regulate social networking, while waiting on the government’s assistance they were creative enough to use the various social media outlets to push law enforcement’s “no tolerance” message.  Creating Flickr pages, YouTube videos with content humiliating offenders speaks volumes to how serious the authorities are about restoring order in London and it’s surrounding cities.  There is also irony in the fact that they are using social media to seek out suspects, the same channel that supposedly helped organize the riots and violence that erupted within London.

One Response to “The Revolution Will Be Tweet’d! By The Police?!?!”

  1. While I’m not sure that what is happening in London qualifies as a “revolution” – you have some great examples of how the police are using social media and taking it across multiple channels in order to inform citizens of the repercussions of looting and criminal behaviour as well as “naming and shaming” those who took part in it. The idea of getting normal citizens to report on their local neighbors was also an interesting idea, and I was wondering if it worked well … though I suppose it is hard to tell this early. Nice post this week and great examples and visuals. (5)

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