I had an interesting conversation today (Monday 17 June 2013) about the future of social media and how to make sure that law enforcers and senior managers were on board with it. For police forces it is incredibly important to ensure this because if crime is happening it will be happening in the real and the virtual world. It can’t be acceptable for officers and staff to refuse to get involved in this developing area or to bury their heads and avoid it.
Social media and the digital world are now so much a part of our daily lives we use it to chat, to buy things and to do business. And yet despite all this there are still people who refuse to understand it and how it works let alone use it. The conversation today focused on what can be done to help people understand that they need to be able to operate in the digital world if they are really going to be able to protect people.
One officer said it was a bit like asking officers to go out without an essential piece of equipment like a radio or body armour if we leave them with a lack of training in understanding the digital. I have a slightly different way of viewing it. I see digital as an extension or a new realm of life. So for me, if law enforcers refuse to understand and deal with the social or digital they are effectively saying that they won’t police it. This is like creating a ‘no-go zone’ in a city or town. It just wouldn’t happen that the police would abandon communities, so why do some people think it is acceptable to do it in the virtual world.
Regardless of whether officers want to use social media or do business in the virtual world they need to know about it and how it works if they are going to be able to help people and keep them safe. There should be no hiding place for criminals whether it is in the real or the virtual world.