British bobbies publish callouts on Twitter

A British police force last night tweeted details of all 3,205 incidents it had to deal with.

It wasn’t a mistake, but rather an effort to gain some sympathy and understanding of just how much the force has to cope with.

During a 24 hour period, the Greater Manchester bobbies dealt with incidents ranging from two allegations of rape to a horse that refused to cross a bridge. other calls included a woman who wanted to sue the benefits agency because she’d run out of money, an abandoned lawnmower and a drunk asleep in a garage.

“Currently, policing only gets measured by the crimes recorded and detected and it doesn’t fully reflect what we do,” says Chief Constable Peter Farhy – on Twitter, of course. “A lot of what we do isn’t crime, but we are always there as the agency of the last resort.”

All in all, he said, much more of the force’s time was taken up by what he called social work than by actual crime. Some seventeen thousand people followed the force through the night as it made 341 arrests. The Twitter feed is here.

Fahy says he would like to extend the initiative.

“I thought this would be a complete one-off but there might be other days in the year we want to use it,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “We could particularly use it as a means of doing public appeals for information on crimes. This might be a much better way of finding witnesses.”

Meanwhile, many of the feed’s followers started posting their own ‘crimes’.

“Drug dealer caught possessing cannabis. He has promised to stop possessing it as soon as possible,” read one.

“Alien species spotted. Description matches that of either ET or Gail Platt [a soap opera character],” suggested another.