No, really, in a spirit of transparent police work they decided to tweet every call and every incident. For a 24 hour period starting at 5 am on 14.10.10 they had a clerical officer Tweet the details of everything they dealt with.
Every alleged misdemeanour made its way into the public domain via Twitter. The Police wanted every one to be able to see the pressure of work they experience on an average day – above and beyond the statistics they are obliged to provide for the government. It was freedom of information taken to extremes.
During the day there were 3,205 incidents. Officers arrested 341 people and 126 are still in custody. It made epic reading. The Greater Manchester Police Twitter followers were at 3,000 before the experiment began but rose to over 30,000 on the three official accounts today.
These are all real calls logged by the GMP:
Call 1962 2 men fighting following collision in Oldham. Investigation showed they were just fighting and there was no collision
Call 674 confused man reporting his tv not working
Call 1794 Report of youths playing football and kicking a ball in a garden, Stockport
Call 1605 report of faulty phone in Sale
Call 1169 report of someone putting rubbish in caller’s bin in Rochdale
Call 1621 Advice on where caller’s 16-year-old daughter can stay while the caller is on holiday.
Some of the spoof sites excelled themselves too –
Call 384 report of man holding baby over bridge – police immediately attended and it was man carrying dog that doesn’t like bridges * oh no this was a real call
Maybe the call I heard about: Girl threatening to jump off a bridge, refusing to speak to anyone except Justin Bieber - was real too.
An emergency seems to be more of a spectrum than a dire circumstance.
Then there was the number of accidental 999 calls from mobiles or kids playing with phones - unbelievable, as is the number of silent calls. One Tweet reported the 22nd 999 call from the same mobile number.
It was mind numbing - how the service is stretched by so many unnecessary calls. Everyone knows their major task is keeping my daughter safe ;)