Spain’s national police has built up an army of over half a million followers on Twitter, using them to help swoop on fugitives and get tip-offs on drug dealers in an open dialogue that has helped bring the force closer to the people.
Since it was set up four years ago, the Spanish feed has become one of most popular police Twitter accounts in the world, with the force regularly sending humorous tweets to attract followers.
As well as warning the public of new scams, the force often enlists the help of Spaniards, tweeting requests for information about drug dealers in particular, to be sent anonymously to a police e-mail address.
“If you know of anybody, a little group of narcos, or of a drugs sales point in Spain, tell us at [email protected]#CONFIDENTIAL, we will get them,” ran a recent tweet.
Police say they have arrested 300 suspected drug traffickers since January 2012 thanks to information provided by Twitter users in response to these appeals for help.
Followers meanwhile routinely pass on to police information on new fraud techniques and flag Internet sites that distribute pornographic images of children.
“They provide us with a lot of really useful information. It is very powerful feedback for us,” explained the force’s social media manager, Carlos Fernandez Guerra, as he sat at his desk, regularly checking his iPhone and iPad.
“They are very useful stories which have absolutely revolutionised how police operate in Spain and in many other regions of the world that use us as a reference,” the 39-year-old, dressed casually in jeans and a brown blazer, said.
Read more at: Phys.org