One of Scotland’s police forces, Northern Constabulary, has fed back on extremely positive developments following its adoption of social media as public relations and community access tools.

The force, which has had a Twitter page since 2009, and a Facebook page since 2010, claims that as well as helping it engage more effectively with the general public, social media have also helped to enhance the power and reach of its communications; whilst at the same time providing ‘a fundamental element in managing the reputation of the organisation’.

Northern Constabulary’s report regarding its experiences with the popular networking sites, entitled ‘The Use of Social Media’, also alludes to the power of social media in redirecting visitors to its main website.

According to the force’s own figures, the number of visitors referred to its website rose from a monthly tally of 3,900 in January 2009, to that of almost 12,000 in 2011.

The report however, also brings attention to the importance of ensuring the public are mindful that whilst social media will always play a role for the force in ‘encouraging reporting of crime’, they should not in themselves be used as ‘crime reporting mechanisms’.

The report proudly lays claim to Northern Constabulary being the first Scottish force to use social media to engage with the public; and looks to a future in which:

“it is intended that these social media platforms are also used for further developing our consultation and engagement processes with a targeted audience”.