Friday 15 October 2010


Yesterday the Greater Manchester Police Twittered their day away. 

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 ;)


  1. Wow - it's really eye opening. Advice on where daughter should stay while caller is on holiday? Incredible!

  2. Hi, This is Erica from Hypothetically Speaking, sorry for the wait! my internet connection has been a bit spastic lately :( Have you been able to get in touch with Clarissa?

  3. Amazing what one learns from the call volume and the nature of the calls.

  4. Wow - that's depressing! How can people be that dumb????? No wonder the police get frustrated!

  5. Hi Belle
    Can you imagine using 999 or 911 or any other emergency number to ask about teenage respite care?
    Hi Medeia I think I learned that there is a big difference between what the number is for and what frustration makes people believe is designed for.
    Hi Jemi - It was unbelievable, reading the kinds of things people were calling about. That and the non-calls from the change in people's pockets.

    Hi Erica
    I did get through to Clarissa in the end. At one point I thought I was going to have to take a flight and go deliver it myself ;)