British police are being taught how to track criminals from the comfort of their own desks, using Facebook and Twitter.
The 3,500 trainees taken on each year by the force will be shown how to monitor the movements of suspects using Twitter. They will also be taught how to search Facebook pages for incriminating posts as well as potential witnesses.
“This programme is a vital part of the career pathway for detectives and the new training covers sensitive areas of policing where limited guidance existed previously,” says the acting chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, deputy chief constable Nick Gargan.
“These improvements are exactly what detectives need to tackle the challenges and complexities of modern policing effectively.”
The training also includes techniques for gathering evidence from computers, mobile phones, CCTV, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras and something called the National Footwear Reference Collection.
The British police are starting to be keen users of social networking. Earlier this month, the Greater Manchester Police shared details of every single callout they had over a 24 hour period.
The bobbies perhaps felt it was about time to get to grips with social networking after a prolonged period of taunting from an escaped criminal earlier this year.
Craig Lynch was on the run for four months – but could hardly be described as having been in hiding, posting regular updates on his Facebook page as to his whereabouts.