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Manchester cops hit Twitter - spoof feeds fall down stairs
Are there Twits on Mars?
Greater Manchester Police decided to show the world just how tough it is policing England's third city by tweeting every report it receives for 24 hours.
The results so far tell a story of stretched resources, organisational confusion, police communications hijacked by criminals and pranksters, and coppers ending up in jail - albeit entirely within the world of Twitter.
The force hopes the project will highlight the "complexities of modern policing" and show the level of incidents it has to deal with.
"Policing is often seen in very simple terms, with cops chasing robbers and locking them up. However, the reality is that this accounts for only part of the work they have to deal with," said Chief Constable Peter Fahy.
Which is true - the force is clearly having to spend a lot of time making sure it has enough Twitter feeds. It was quickly sent to Twit jail for exceeding its limits and had to set up further accounts.
Unfortunately, pranksters quickly copped the naming pattern for the new feeds, and set up their own feeds.
For example, GMP24_0's recent reports include:
Call 018 - Abandoned 999 call. Something about "help I'm being kidna". No action taken. #gmp24
Call 009 - Reported missing child turned up at school. Parents "didn't think to look there". Fair enough. #gmp24
Call 002 - Reports of an ice cream vendor dead; found to have been covered in chocolate sauce and nuts. We reckon he's topped himself #gmp24
Meanwhile, the criminal fraternity has also added its voice to the mix, in the form of GMP24_criminal:
Just took a call from someone I don't know. Was confused until I remembered I nicked this phone yesterday. Oh silly me! #gmp24
GMP quickly moved in and started threatening rival feeds, telling at least one prankster to remove any GMP logos or else.
Strangely the real messages on GMP24_1 seem even more inanely surreal:/
Call 912 Inforation regarding an annoying letter #gmp24
Custody Update. There are currently 116 persons in custody across gmp . Offences include burglary, theft, assault & drugs #gmp24
Call 384 report of man holding baby over bridge - police immediately attended and it was man carrying dog that doesn't like bridges #gmp24
And our current favourite:
Call 849 - Attempted theft of a caravan, could have happened anytime in the past two weeks, Rochdale #gmp24
We're guessing they were on holiday at the time.
If you really want to know what it's like policing the real world, you can start here. ®