Updated: Friday, 22nd May 2020 @ 2:15pm

Bolton 'tweeters' dubious over 999 Twitter alerts

Bolton 'tweeters' dubious over 999 Twitter alerts

By Alexandra Moerschner

The people of Bolton were left uncomfortable after Greater Manchester Police ‘tweeted’ every individual crime over a 24-hour period last Thursday.

They used the social networking site Twitter to relay crimes being reported across greater Manchester, and a lot of these reports seemed to be focused around the Bolton area.

Between 5am on October 14 and 5am the following day, the force dealt with 3205 incidents across Manchester.

The calls ranged from those that are not policing matters, such as cows on a road in Bolton, to more serious crimes such as the second tweet of the day – a harassment call, also in Bolton.

Chief Constable Peter Fahy said: "The reaction we have received proves that the public perception of modern day policing was removed from the reality that my officers face.”

However, not all users of the website seemed convinced.

One tweeter, @PaulCrouch, from Bolton, said: “Call 1470: male refusing to remove an industrial unit in Bolton - is this even a crime?”

Chief Constable Fayh added: "As well as serious crimes, we deal with many social issues and other incidents that the public are quite surprised about.”

What Bolton residents were most surprised about was not only the variety of calls received but also the sheer amount of crime reported in their area.

Tweeter @Aiden_at_Ideas said: “There does seem to be a lot of crime in Bolton. From one Boltonian to many others, just stop nicking stuff!”

And @Ben_Carthy said: “Seeing a recurring pattern of crime in Bolton. Its a hot-bed of crime, that place.”

Although shaken by this, other residents think it was a good idea.

Peter Morgan, 37, who lives and works in Bolton, said: “It might have been a shock to see but things like this need to be brought to peoples attention.

“I think it’s also shown what Greater Manchester Police have to deal with on a daily basis.”

Chief Constable Fayh also agrees that this experiment was an eye-opener for the people of Bolton, along with residents all over Greater Manchester.

“It has been pretty amazing in terms of the interest, particularly from the media, and followers on Twitter,” he said.

He also explained that they would now think about how to use Twitter in different ways, such as a means of asking for witnesses, adding: “Clearly this is the communication medium of the future.”

Officers arrested 341 people in the same time period and 126 of those remain in custody.

The demonstration has seen Greater Manchester Police's Twitter profile go from having 3,000 followers in the two years since it was set up to more than 17,000 on Thursday.