Rise in net police calls

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POLICE have seen a huge rise in people mentioning Facebook and Twitter when reporting incidents.

In 2009 only 60 people from Hartlepool mentioned the social networking sites as they spoke to call handlers when they rang the police.

But in 2010 it more than trebled to 199, and in the first six months of 2011 it had reached 113 incidents where Facebook and Twitter is mentioned.

Police say the reasons the sites were mentioned cannot be broken down to just being crimes as they increasingly release appeals and information on Facebook and Twitter.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “As social networking sites such as Facebook continue to become more popular, call-takers have seen an increase in people mentioning these sites when reporting incidents, or contacting police for advice.

“These calls are not necessarily related to crimes involving Facebook.

“But it is becoming mentioned more within the context of a call, perhaps if someone has called as a result of an appeal for information that appeared on the site.

“Cleveland Police has Facebook and Twitter pages which are both used to raise awareness of appeals for information and have been used more recently to inform people about significant road closures across Cleveland, following road traffic accidents.

“Officers are also finding social networking sites useful in appeals for missing people.

“Information and photographs can be distributed quickly to thousands of users, with the information being viewed on mobile phones as well as computers.

“Social networking sites are good tools for raising awareness. However, we would remind people that they should always be cautious when giving personal information over the internet.

“Advice on internet safety is available on our website www.cleveland.police.uk under the community safety section; this includes information for parents or guardians.

“The Cleveland Police Facebook and Twitter sites can be accessed by visiting www.facebook.com/clevelandpolice and www.twitter.com/clevelandpolice.”