PCCs doing it digital style (Democracy)

9 Jan

Right then so why am I stalking the Police & Crime Commissioners’ social media interactions. Well my boss @curiousc (the super clever one) has written a report (also super clever) fpr the APCC providing guidance on the opportunities that Police and Crime Commissioner’s have to grasp to engage us citizens in what they are doing and the decisions they make. The super clever one makes clear evidence based arguments. I am the more direct one.

The reasons its important for a Police and Crime Commissioners need to use social media to engage people?

– Because most people didn’t know why they were brought in and,

– What for (massively difficult to communicate leadership role as distinct from Chief Constable) and,

– If they did, many of them didn’t want them brought in (some because of fears around ‘politicisation’ and some because they are naturally more conservative about change

I suppose as a member of a Police Authority at the time PCCs came in, I should be more opposed than say, you. And, certainly I think there are still some risks and transition issues which it would have been ideal to sort out before they did! And, I have concerns about losing the quality of scrutiny in governance that the old Police Authorities brought (however quite excited about the idea of growing some quality ‘citizen scrutiny’ using digital tools!). Like many, I am concerned about how in practice the politics will play out also.

However, I am not going to pretend there weren’t issues with the old system either and this system does bring opportunities with it. One of which, is more direct engagement in decisions and budgets. I think that is to be welcomed, democracy, involvement of citizens in decisions which affect them, and using community voice and action is good because evidence demonstrates this creates happier, safer, healthier communities.

Why do it ‘digital’? Well…there are the obvious benefits! People now use and create content online through twitter, facebook, blogs and other tools in droves. It makes sense to go where people are rather than expect them to come to you. Also, in digital space you can create your own dialogue which is not edited by favourable/ unfavourable print and broadcast media sources. Having built your credibility and networks online and offline you can do real stuff with that. See the @bhcoatsforkids or our blog for example.

Digital space creates opportunities to connect with people who can’t get to public meetings because of work, caring responsibilities, disabilities and many other issues…not least, because public meetings can be intimidating and some people may find that format dull and unappealing. Online, they can watch the questions others put, and hopefully gain confidence to participate but at the very least become more informed. 

Police and Crime Commissioners are all beginning to consult on their policing plans and budget priorities. So, I am spying in to see the different approaches and depth of digital activity in order to get an idea of the style, tone and level of participation is achievable at this very early stage of their terms. It is brilliant to see so many, active online during their campaigns, are already ‘digital by default’ using digital tools on top of traditional meetings, surgeries and other face-to-face techniques to communicate. So far this week I have used storify to collate tweets from Surrey PCC and Lincolnshire PCC which you might be interested in. I think both are really trying to be open and engaging and that’s very positive.

Please let me know your thoughts, any observations or online activity I should have a peek at.

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3 Responses to “PCCs doing it digital style (Democracy)”

  1. Russell Webster (@russwebt) January 11, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    Great first post, Emma. Looking forwards to seeing a range of different approaches and which PCCs get it right – and which actually are influenced by the results of digital consultation & engagement.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How many PCCs are using Twitter – and how are they using it? Some numbers! « Public-i Blog - January 11, 2013

    […] into the medium, profession or, indeed, how PCCs use social media. My colleague Emma Daniel has much more meaningful stuff to say about this! As does our boss, […]

  2. How many PCCs are using Twitter – and how are they using it? Some numbers! - Public-i - January 24, 2013

    […] into the medium, profession or, indeed, how PCCs use social media. My colleague Emma Daniel has much more meaningful stuff to say about this! As does our boss, […]

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