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Social media framework for forces launched by Police Digital Service

The Police Digital Service has launched a national framework for forces' use of social media in a step closer towards a 24/7 communication line where emergencies can be reported.

Social media framework for forces launched by Police Digital Service

Date - 30th April 2021
By - Chloe Livadeas

The Police Digital Service (previously known as the Police ICT Company) has launched a Social Media Management & Engagement Framework for policing to “increase consistency in service delivery to the public”.

The PSD said benefits of the framework include accessibility for frontline officers from a mobile app via force-issued device as well as the ability to access basic data insights on external users such as influence, key words and demographic information and location.

PDS CEO Ian Bell said: “I am delighted that the Police Digital Service can now offer this framework, which, through national coordination, provides for a menu of options to suit local needs from content management through to the ability to facilitate social media as a 24/7 digital contact channel, if desired.

“Unlike many other organisations, policing has specific requirements to enable the reporting and recording of crimes and incidents made via social media in the same manner, and to the same standard, as we do with 999 or 101 services. The explosion of social media, and the plethora of information now available to the police, provides both challenge and huge opportunity – this information is incredibly powerful if managed well."

Orlo (SocialSignIn Ltd) and Softcat, in partnership with Salesforce, have been named as the successful suppliers to the framework.

“The successful suppliers on the framework were able to demonstrate an effective approach to supporting this, ensuring the public have choice on which channels to use to interact with their local force,” said Mr Bell.

The framework supports the work of the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) Lead for Social Media and Digital Engagement, Surrey Police Chief Constable Gavin Stephens.

CC Stephens has been developing a Target Operation Model (TOM) for the integrated use of social media across forces.

There is also a regulatory drive: The European Emergency Communication Code needed to be transposed into UK Law by 21 December 2020. Ofcom decided to allow more time to implement the measures because of Covid-19.

The practicalities of the EECC will mean that force's social media accounts will need to be able to take calls for assistance over social media, and contact centres need to be able to triage contact based on threat, harm and risk. 

“Operationally we know this is necessary, as practitioners around the country have examples of at risk or vulnerable people making contact on social, and we now have a protocol with Facebook around notification of life at risk events into 999,” write CC Stephens in his blog.

He said called the procurement framework a “huge achievement”.

“More so now than ever we need to efficiently and effectively engage online which this framework allows us to do. Importantly, it has been built by our needs and saves forces time and money,” said CC Stephens.

“The new approach to online services and social media has been implemented by a number of forces already. I hope that having this new opportunity makes it an even more attractive offer for those considering it as their next step.”

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