Give the public a #truepicture of police work, Federation urges officers

06 February 2015

Police officers around the country are being urged to take to twitter to create a snapshot of what they do every day to help and support local communities.

The Police Federation is appealing for officers to give the public an insight into what they do each day – whether dealing with crime or dealing with non-crime issues - using the hashtags #policing #truepicture.

The twitter day of action follows a report released by the College of Policing last month which demonstrated that 83 per cent of calls to forces do not concern incidents of crime. Forces and officers across the country are signed up to participate.

Steve White, chair, Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “British policing is about so much more than just dealing with crime. At the heart of policing is our relationship with our communities, whether it be dealing with missing people, disorder on a high street on a Friday night, licensing enquiries, or providing support and reassurance to someone who has just been injured in a car crash.

"In addition to this many, many hours of police time are spent protecting the public from crime that hasn’t yet happened – counter terrorism and managing sex offenders in the community being two such examples.

“We police with the consent of the public to the wishes of the public and what we are hearing loud and clear are two things: the public want local visible policing; and police officers want to provide that service.

“But they can’t. They are hampered because no matter how much they want to do there simply aren’t enough of them to do it. With fewer officers they are forced to do less.”

To help demonstrate just exactly what officers deal with day in and day out, the #policing #truepicture day on Monday 9 February, aims to demonstrate the range of roles officers deal with outside those jobs that are collected in the government’s crime statistics. The hugely important things to communities that crime stats don’t capture.

Tips for officers taking part

Check your settings so you do not inadvertently divulge personal information including pictures of your home, children etc.

Do not share confidential operational information.

Only tweet where publishing the information does not compromise the jobs you are dealing with.

Take account of your individual force’s policies.

There is no obligation to participate.

College of Policing analysis

The college’s report detailed the incoming and ongoing work of the police and suggested an increasing amount of police time is directed towards public protection work such as managing high-risk offenders and protecting victims who are at risk and often vulnerable.

The report calculated what pressures a typical force on a typical day faced. It said that there would be one officer on duty for every 1,753 people living in the area; that officers would make 50 arrests – with 1.6 for sexual offences; and that officers would deal with – among other crimes – 8 house burglaries, 77 thefts, 11 thefts from a motor vehicle, three thefts from a motor vehicle, 36 violent crimes, one robbery, two sexual assaults including one rape.

It also showed that officers would attend nine road traffic collisions where there were casualties, carry out eight breath tests, carry out 37 stop and searches, deal with 14 incidents flagged as involving people with mental health problems, support 2,700 families in the troubled families programme, manage 1,189 sexual and violent offenders, deal with 101 anti-social behaviour issues among a host of other non-crime issues.

• View the College of Policing report here
• View the infographic detailing the College of Policing's analysis of the activities of a typical force here

• True picture guidance