Harnessing the power of social media

Harnessing the power of social media

Commissioner Mike Bush

Ngā mihi, and congratulations to all staff involved in the search for a high-risk parolee who allegedly absconded from Christchurch on Tuesday night. He was apprehended in Nelson the next evening after an alert police patrol spotted his car parked in the street and he was located nearby.

This incident would have caused considerable concern and the quick arrest will reassure the public. As I have said before, response is a cornerstone of prevention and swift apprehensions go a long way towards building and maintaining our high levels of trust and confidence.

On a related note, it was very encouraging to see the public support we received during this operation, particularly through social media. A request for any information about this person's whereabouts reached more than 20,000 people within hours of it being posted on the Canterbury District Facebook page. It was also shared several thousand times and we received a lot of contact as a result of that and the extensive media coverage.

This is a great example of the benefits social media can bring for policing and helping us engage with the public. It’s a really useful tool, and I encourage all districts to take advantage of its reach.

Speaking of which, well done to the team behind the recruitment Running Man challenge campaign that went viral earlier this year and which won the Supreme prize at the Social Media Awards in Auckland this week (pictured below).

The video was an instant sensation and was viewed more than 10 million times.  It reached more than 30 million people, sparking remakes from police services around the world.

At the risk of breaking the internet again, and for those of you who haven’t checked it out yet, you can still find the post on our New Zealand Police Facebook page.

Supporting a great cause

On Saturday, I attended Women’s Refuge Whanganui’s Great Ball, which was held to raise money for a hub in the city to support women and families.

The ball included auctions which, together with donations, raised $90,000 and counting. Like all members of Police, I am only too aware of the damage family violence does, so it was great to see so many members of the community getting behind this very worthy cause. Well done to Great Ball chair Sharon Warburton and all involved in the organising.

Until next time, stay safe.

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