Calling police officers and staff – help decide the future of Polchat

Some months ago we established a Twitter based chat about policing and communication known as #polchat. It helped to bring people together and shared some good practice about the work going on within police forces. Among the things discussed were using social media, public meetings, location-based actions. That was useful but as with all things, it needs to change, adapt and improve – so what next for Polchat?

There are a number of questions that need to be answered and that is where I need your help. We need feedback on the chat to look at what the next steps need to be.

Firstly, do people still feel it will be useful to discuss policing and communication issues? And if so then is Twitter still the right vehicle for the chat? It could be that the knowledge database run by the National Policing Improvement Agency is an alternative, or how about using Linked In?

The time of Polchat was always 1pm on Thursday but for many people there are lunchtime meetings that mean getting involved is difficult. So would it be better to move it to 8pm on a weeknight? Are people keen to still discuss work related issues outside of working hours?

And how do we encourage more involvement in the subject areas? Should the chat focus on the work of one force or unit and ask them to take questions? Would people prefer it to be a more general opportunity to chat?

I personally, feel that it is a useful opportunity to link with police forces at home and abroad to consider what people are doing, what we could be doing and to help to develop communication. It is an opportunity for all forces to take part, and also those that are not directly involved in policing. Each of the polchats has been enlightening in some way for me. I want to see it remain and be relaunched as something that people value and want to take part in.

The future of polchat is now in your hands so let me know what you want to see it develop into and we can then look to relaunch in the next few weeks.

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6 Responses to Calling police officers and staff – help decide the future of Polchat

  1. Mike Downes says:

    In my view, Google Plus is the ideal vehicle for #polchat combining LIVE video hangouts with twitter. Hangouts are now mobile too. Although the room is limited to 10 people, there is plenty of scope to have multi rooms or even one person live tweeting. See my g+ stream for more: as well as CI Kerry Blakeman (and me) in a hangout at #SMILEcon in Dallas with Supt Mark Payne there in person:

    This kind of chat has already started with @spshilton and @Neil_Griff from FIRE organising live training ops via hangouts.


  2. Mike

    Google Plus, and the technology that drives hangouts is blocked in most government agencies, including the police; therefore Twitter is probably still the platform most available and accessible to the audience that I see using #polchat.

    Would like to see the reach of G+ against Twitter / LI amongst the casual user, which I think is what #polchat is driven by.



  3. I’m not sure I agree with Mike about Google+. I like to keep my work life and private life entirely separate, and I suspect many police officers/staff will feel the same way. As I understand it, G+ insists on real names, and I’d struggle maintaining two virtually identical personae. Also, if the G+ take-up for police officers/staff is as slow as it’s been for other users, then you could wait a while for critical mass!
    I’ve been tweeting since 2009 and didn’t know about #polchat, so it may simply be a case of getting a few more retweets out!


  4. wobable says:

    I really enjoyed the polchats that I took part in, and thank you Amanda for organising them. I did find, however, that (more often than not) I’d be kicking myself at the end of Thursday, because I’d missed it again (I’d get too caught up with the days work, and next thing I know its home time!).

    The one downside for me was the public nature. There were times when I wanted to share things with the POLCHAT community that I wasn’t comfortable sharing with the wider world – especially as I am tweeting in a personal capacity, not as a police representative.

    For me, the POLKA network would be the best place to hold it. I know its future is uncertain, but I think it is a brilliant idea looking for its “killer app” and I think PolChat could be that killer app.

    Perhaps it is a subject for discussion at the Police Communicators conference later this year?


  5. Pingback: Communications conversations on Twitter « Simon Wakeman – public sector communications, marketing and public relations

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