Social Media in Ghana How police around the world embrace social networks

All over the world, police departments are using social media to enhance their relationship with the public they serve.

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play All over the world, police departments are using social media to enhance their relationship with the public they serve.
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On Thursday, John Kudalor, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), announced that the police was considering shutting down social media during the November 7 general elections.

The announcement has prompted a major backlash from the public about how this should not be up for consideration in the first place.

READ : Banning social media the "most foolish idea" – Mike Oquaye Jnr

Those arguing for the shutdown cite Uganda and Turkey as examples of countries where social media platforms were shut during elections.

Opponents contended that these countries are not the best examples because of their weak democratic credentials.

READ : Ghanaians criticise proposed ban on social media on election day

They also found difficulty in understanding why the police will want to ban a medium that it (the police) are absent on. 

All over the world, police departments are using social media to enhance their relationship with the public they serve.

As social media has become an integral part of people’s daily lives, law enforcement agencies globally have realized the need to get onto these platforms to serve as an extra layer of policing, give traffic updates, making reporting crime easier and giving out police public information.

For instance, the Metropolitan Police (London’s police) has 33 Twitter accounts; one for each of the 32 boroughs it serves and an overall account. They also Instagram, Flickr and YouTube accounts.

This is also the case in Boston;

 

Uganda;

 

Rwanda;

 and South Africa.

 

In New York also, the fire department also has a Twitter account giving out fire safety tips and update on ongoing operations.

 

In Ghana, this has not been the case with the police and perhaps the public sector in general; which appears not interested in using new mediums of communication to reach out to the public.

The websites of ministries, departments, districts and municipal assemblies either do not exist or have simply become defunct.

The last tweet from what is widely believed to the Twitter account of the Ghana Police Service was in 2011 announcing the transfer of its director of public affairs.

 

The fears about social media being used as an avenue for the spreading of false information during the elections and could potentially leading to violence are legitimate. However, the police and the Electoral Commission could use this same avenue to quell false information.

In 2014, the Electoral Commission of South Africa used social media, its own app and the internet to inform the public about the official results from the elections.

 

So while the IGP has only said they were considering it and that a definite decision had not been made, it is important that they stop right at the consideration stage and start getting on social media themselves to improve their relationship and communication between the men in black and the public.

After all, the best way to kill rumour is with factual accounts.

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