Posted by: ayrshirehealth | February 24, 2016

The polis – why not? by @jason_peter_NA

Engaged

Hand holding a Social Media 3d SphereWhile I have a keen interest in social media I have never even dipped my toes in the water of blogging – until now that is having been invited by Derek Barron (@dtbarron) to write about a subject that I am passionate about.

A bit about me

My name is Jason Peter – I have been a Police Officer in North Ayrshire for just over nine years during which I have worked across the Local Authority area in a variety of roles.  For my whole life however I have been a resident here – living, working and calling North Ayrshire home.North Ayrshire

Before joining the police I was involved in a number of different community based activities and became a firm believer in doing what was right and championing the ‘greater good’.

Through these activities and in my first few jobs as a teenager I had a fair few dealings with ‘the polis’ and met some great characters many of whom I have now had the pleasure of working alongside.

The one thing that struck me repeatedly, was how professional, understanding, pleasant and helpful many of the team were – they were humans in a uniform. Growing up I had always put off seriously considering a career in Policing until one day I was asked by an officer “Why not?” and didn’t have an answer

– the rest, as they say is history.

In the time that followed – I haven’t looked back – always remembering the officers that I had positive interactions with when paving out my own career – being human, doing what you believe to be right and treating people as you’d wish to be treated.

The Story so far

Soon after completing my probationary period, I was given the opportunity to deliver on Community Policing in a town that had seen its fair share of the hard times – levels of antisocial behaviour, violence and territorialism were a big issue.  The area featured high nationally on the index of multiple deprivation, the fear of crime was high and confidence in policing low.Response vehicles

While working with colleagues and developing relationships with partners to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in the town, I met a great number of people who were working under the radar – quietly going about their business and making a difference to the lives of others.

Whether it be members of the community, a local business doing something different, or employee in a government organisation going above and beyond – there are a huge number when you scratch under the surface.

Despite the inequalities and issues faced, it is these people – the community – that get us through the hard times.

With the support of managers and key individual in the community, I held community meetings, put up posters, arranged clean-ups with partners – together we achieved some great success, but levels of engagement were minimal and we were missing some key groups including the young people.

The human side

In the years that followed and with a change of role I was given access to the local area Twitter feeds and following a period of research I began developing our presence online.  Ayrshire North Police TwitterBy demonstrating the human side of our work in open and honest conversations online we began to win hearts and minds.

With the launch of our Facebook page we were, for the first time ever, influencing the narrative and having our say on local issues.  Special Recognition Award I was having conversations with people I had previously met and who for a variety of reasons just would not (or could not) engage with me when we met face to face.  Young people in particular responded positively to our presence online.

By explaining our procedures or decision making around local policing, communities and individuals responded positively

In 2015 our #SafeSummer activity online reached an audience of over 5.4 million people and while it would be easy to get caught up in the numbers reporting the reach, likes, favourites or shares on a particular post; what makes it for me is that message from an individual responding positively to the work undertaken on their behalf each and every day.

Making a difference

By treating every interaction as a conversation, focusing on the individual and not just broadcasting what we wanted people to hear, we began to build an online community.  People from all walks of life were now engaging with the organisation – our Facebook page in particular became a community noticeboard, with scores of people discussing local concerns, expressing grief and sadness and sharing good news stories.  While there have been many notable comments, it is often the simplest message that says the most – like one resident who simply posted ‘thanks for being there’ in response to a particular incident.

Baton RelayI have touched on the great levels of enthusiasm and a desire to deliver for communities that is evident in Ayrshire – at every opportunity we must publicise this and be proud of our efforts in making a difference.

The Queens Baton Relay Team commented that North Ayrshire ‘embraced the event like no other place’ – the huge levels of joint working were demonstrated on the streets, with residents, businesses and organisations coming together to deliver a great event.  While we all have a statutory requirement to work together, it is clear that this is the only way to find lasting solutions to problems faced in communities.Weather tweet

By continuing to expand on my use of social media on a personal and professional basis, I have met some great individuals in North Ayrshire and from further afield who are all working for the greater good – doing what they believe in, doing more than what they are paid for and getting results.

Social media enables you to make productive connections with people you have never met – I was approached to write this blog before I had ever met Derek Barron in person.

For anyone considering using social media I would encourage them to get involved – find people with a similar interest online, make connections, have conversations, share an idea and make it work.

This weeks blog  was by @jason_peter_NA  – Sergeant Jason Peter, Ayrshire Division, Police Scotland

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Responses

  1. It is good to hear about the positive and human side of policing. Bad news travels fast… good news often takes more promoting. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for sharing your side of policing. People seem to think police are the bad guys but I really enjoyed reading your post and found the social media aspect very interesting!


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