Sussex Police is offering a 24 hour live video streaming broadcast of its “bobbies on the beat”
On Friday 28 October, Internet users will be able to witness the typical everyday challenges that British bobbies face while policing the mean streets of Sussex.
In what is being described as a ‘world first’, Sussex Police is offering a live broadcast of ‘a day in the life of the police’ for 24 hours.
The live streaming event will run from 6am Friday until 6am Saturday. For those viewers for whom Police, Camera, Action; Criminal Minds; or Motorway Cops is a little too tame, they can check out the Sussex Police People: Live video on the force’s Website.
Bobbies On The Beat
The footage will be provided by a combination of mobile phones, laptops, and the free live video streaming application Bambuser. The force’s chief constable will also be offering regular updates and comments. In addition, viewers are promised “a live, intimate, bird’s eye view of activities from a series of car and foot patrols”.
Sussex police stressed that for obvious legal reasons, some live streams may have to occasionally be cut or muted. However, it said that the main aim of the cinéma vérité is to broadcast live the everyday challenges faced by Sussex Police. Anyone can join in by asking questions or making comments on Twitter using hashtag #SPPlive.
“The technical side is interesting, but what’s most important is how this well help us speak and listen to local people in the best ways possible,” said chief constable Martin Richards. “We’re making innovative use of technology, but not at the expense of other effective methods.”
“It’s a time of extraordinary change for policing, with important questions being asked nationally about the transparency and accountability of police forces,” he added. “We will show the public aspects of policing that they might not know about, and offer new ways for them to share their views with us, through a personal window on the thoughts, feelings and experiences of our police officers and staff.”
Meanwhile, it seems that the general public will also be able to join in the digital experiment via web chats and interactive walkabouts, that will allow them to direct cameras as well as taking part in a Twitter conversation about the initiative (hashtag #SPPlive).
“You’ve got to take your hat off and acknowledge the forward thinking nature of Sussex Police,” said Bambuser Executive Chairman Hans Eriksson. “In today’s digital age, it’s important that organisations utilise technology like Bambuser to effectively and cheaply showcase what they’re doing – and how taxpayers’ money is being used.
In October 2010, the Greater Manchester Police used Twitter as a live diary of their daily endeavours for 24 hours, in an attempt to prove how essential the police service is. It proved so popular with the officers that new Twitter channels had to be created to cope with demand.
And in January this year community police officers in South Perthshire used Twitter to help prevent crime. That three month tweet fest was as part of a pilot scheme to encourage officers to communicate with the public on crime prevention.
The police are slowly warming up to the idea of using social networking sites to communicate with its citizenry, as well as catch criminals. In October last year, for example, it was revealed that the police were to receive training on how to use Facebook and Twitter to catch people committing serious crimes.
Criminals have long been known to be using social networking Websites and the police has now recognised that these social networking sites are potential a valuable source of clues.
For example prisoner Brendan Rawsthorn, from Blackburn, Lancashire, used Facebook to boast of playing computer games, drinking beer and “putting his feet up” all day.
Burglar Craig “Lazie” Lynch also gained a great deal of publicity in late 2009 and early 2010 when he escaped from jail and then used Facebook to taunt British police over the Christmas period. Lynch created a Facebook Web page in which he bragged about relaxing on a sunbed and eating 12lb steaks.
However he was later arrested and reincarcerated.