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Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Friday, 4 February 2011
South Yorkshire Police use Twitter to share crime stats
Police Community Support Officer, Kirt Becket
PCSO, Kirt Becket has used Twitter since 10 September 2010

What do you do when you want to know what is going on in your local area? Read your local newspaper, speak to your neighbour or perhaps look it up on the internet?

South Yorkshire Police are using social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook to update the public on crimes that have happened in the area.

Police Community Support Officer, Kirt Beckett from the Manor and Arbourthorne Safer Neighbourhood team has been using Twitter since September 2010 to share what he has been doing on patrol.

Kirt Beckett, known as @ManorArbourPCSO on Twitter sent a message via his mobile phone on 3 February: 'Just assisted tram conductor to eject 4 youths who were refusing to pay'.

"Twitter is just another way of meeting the public, albeit in a different way," explained Kirt. "It's just another way for me to be contactable, and for the police to be accountable.

"I'm hoping that the public see that I am out there. They might not see me pass their window, but they will know that I have been out on their street, and have dealt with crimes in their neighbourhood."

Inspector Ian Stubbs, @KEInspector, from South Yorkshire Police spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield about Twitter becoming an integral part of his job.

"My role as Community Inspector is to reassure the public and I think tweeting has a number of benefits for the police.

"I think fear often far exceeds the reality of what is actually happening.

"So if we tell people the truth about what is actually happening, then that tends to address the concerns the public.

"One of the biggest fears is that of being mugged. In reality the chances are very slim."

As it stands, the force has trained 16 officers to use social network sites, but as this is ongoing process and interest grows, the number of officers using this technology is likely to increase.

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