It is four years since the first #GMP24 took place. Back in 2010 it was the method of providing details of every call received by Greater Manchester Police that took the spotlight. It was among the first times that Twitter had taken centre stage to be used to provide an insight into an organisation. The content of the tweets ended up taking a backseat with more focus on the humorous ones than the serious issues.
When we approached doing it again four years later we had to take into account everything that has changed in the world. Back in 2010 Twitter was not very well-known, the use of Facebook by GMP was in its infancy and we did little beyond just putting the information out. On Tuesday we revisited the 24 hours of tweets but did much more than this.
As well as tweeting information, we circulated bits of footage with officers and staff working in some of the most challenging areas. They were able to give a little insight into the tough work supporting people suffering domestic abuse, acting as a hostage negotiator and dealing with regular people missing from home. We got officers to take over the corporate Facebook page during the day so they could answer questions and show behind the scenes. There were regular updates from serious crime teams and forensics officers. There were also two community reporters who went out with response officers and spent some time in custody.
All in all this was a much busier #GMP24 than we had back in 2010. There were 2,626 calls that were published and a huge amount of feedback received, which was on the whole positive. People were once again interested to see the range of issues that were managed. They were shocked by the number of domestic incidents and the number of situations where mental health was an issue.
It was a massive undertaking to bring all the elements together, but also to ensure that we were able to show real transparency and tweet every call. This initiative was made even more difficult because of the loss of staff in the past four years. Both from the communication team and also the number of officers that have been lost in the past four years.
Four years ago people asked us would we do #gmp24 again. We always said we would if the time was right and there was a good reason. In 2014 the time was right and hopefully people were able to see that despite the challenges increasing, the growing complexity of crime including hi-tech crime, fraud and dealing with vulnerable people, and the reduction in the number of officers the police are still out every minute of every day trying to deal with problems and make a difference to people in need.