Social Media and Social Change

Flicking through the news today I read these words:

Complaints originating from social media make up “at least half” of a front-line police officer’s work, a senior officer has told the BBC.

Chief Constable Alex Marshall, head of the College of Policing, said the number of crimes arising from social media represented “a real problem”.

He said the police and public were still trying to understand when online insults became a crime.

About 6,000 officers were being trained to deal with online offences, he said.

Mr Marshall told BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action: “As people have moved their shopping online and their communications online, they’ve also moved their insults, their abuse and their threats online, so I see that it won’t be long before pretty much every investigation that the police conduct will have an online element to it.

“It’s a real problem for people working on the front line of policing, and they deal with this every day.

“So in a typical day where perhaps they deal with a dozen calls, they might expect that at least half of them, whether around antisocial behaviour or abuse or threats of assault may well relate to social media, Facebook, Twitter or other forms.”

Social media crimes ‘at least half’ of front-line policing

That’s a lot of policing we are needing.

The real challenge here isn’t the social media, it’s the social change that it enables and we haven’t been trained for that new society; nor do we have the control mechanisms for that new society.

The report goes on to explain that many of the offences are the same as they ever were, it’s the medium that has change. There are also  a lot of people contacting the police because they don’t know what else to do.

One of the conclusions of the article is this:

Mr Marshall said a combination of police training, public education and enforcement by social media companies was required to combat the problem.

I’d agree, policing on it’s own is not a good way of dealing with social change, it requires education as much as it requires control.

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