Twitter reveals the #truepicture of policing

10 March 2015

A colourful picture of policing was painted with the trending #truepicture Twitter campaign hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales last month.

The campaign was in response to continual cuts to policing being justified by falling crime statistics when in fact officers deal with many non-crime incidents.

The emerging results clearly demonstrated the range of incidents dealt with which were often nothing to do with crime.

More than 50 key themes were identified in more than 200 tweets by officers around the country.

Themes included domestic and neighbourhood disputes, mental illness and vulnerable adults and children, self-harm and suicides and comforting bereaved families after informing them they have lost their loved one.

Incidents included being called to a school-yard fight that got out of control, changing the nappy of a nine-month old baby who had been neglected and sitting with an elderly woman crying from the post-traumatic stress of being robbed.

Police also highlighted work around engaging with other partner agencies and case management work such as drug addiction, child safety and crime prevention.

Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: 

“The Twitter day was to highlight that fighting crime is only part of the complex story of policing.

“Many of the issues we deal with now are far more broad than they have ever been before. 

“While officers will do all they can to support people and communities, things like changing a baby’s nappy or buying food for neglected children are not captured in crime statistics.

“In addition, we found that many tweets were around  officers’ own mental health – with cases of people working excessive hours, being called on early, not having staff to cope with demand. 

“We hope this event helped to highlight the amazing work our officers do which have nothing to do with crime.”

“We encourage officers to continue using the hashtag #truepicture on Twitter to continue to highlight the very real demands of policing.”

Editors’ Note:

College of Policing research on demands on police

Chart illustrating the diverse range of issues police address