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Snapchat presence for West Midlands Police a world first

Friday 18 July 2014

West Midlands Police has become the first force in the world to join Snapchat. 
 
The photo and video sharing app is becoming increasingly popular with youngsters, rivalling social media heavyweights such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram − and WMP wants to be a part of it. 
 
Keiley Gartland, from the Corporate Communications Department, said: “We’ve already got a massive following online and our messages are reaching half-a-million people on a daily basis. Part of this work is about connecting with younger people and helping them to feel they have a close connection with their local police force. 
 
“What we want is for them to have the confidence to give us a call or speak to their neighbourhood bobby when they really need our help − and social media is a great tool for us to do that. We can share crucial updates on incidents and crime prevention tips whilst also offering a unique insight into our work." 
 
Snapchat is the latest addition to WMP’s wide-range of social media channels, which currently include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Instagram. 
 
Using the username ‘WestMidsPolice’, the force will be sharing a number of images via Snapchat stories every 24 hours. 
 
The pictures will come from across the dozens of departments that made up WMP such as the Cannabis Disposal Team, Traffic Unit, CID, neighbourhood officers and the Dogs Unit. 
 
Keiley added: “We’re primarily targeting a younger audience on Snapchat and it means when we really need to get an important message out to the community, we’ll have a captive audience. 
 
“You never know what you’re going to get when you visit our story on Snapchat, so it’ll be a surprise every day for anyone who follows us!" 
 
Officers of all ranks, from PC to Deputy Chief Constable, as well as police staff and special constables, now have a presence on social networking sites and earlier this year, the force’s Twitter account reached a landmark 100,000 followers. 
 
As a global leader in the use of social media, West Midlands Police will be hosting the 2014 Social Media, Internet and Law Enforcement (SMILE) annual conference in Birmingham in September. 
 
To follow WMP on Snapchat − search for ‘WestMidsPolice’ and hit the follow button. 
 
Social media should not be used to report crime. To contact police, call 101 or in an emergency, 999.