Craigavon PSNI has defended its Facebook page, saying it is proud of it and, with its reach of around 30,000, it is certanly popular.
After an article in a Belfast daily newspaper suggesting that the PSNI ‘overindulge’ in social media, there has been a huge backlash with the police and the public backing the Facebook pages.
The Irish News ran a lead article headlined ‘Officers warned over Facebook overindulgence’, stating that it calculated the force have spent an estimated 33 hours throughout December updating social media.
SDLP spokesman Alban Maginness is quoted in the piece saying: “It’s clear that some have been overindulging in Facebook posting particularly and I would urge caution that officer’s time is spent as effectively as possible dealing with crime and community safety.”
The Craigavon PSNI Facebook page has a following of almost 6,000 and is updated regularly by local neighbourhood officers.
They recently introduced “Bobby” a woolly friend who has got himself into all sorts of scrapes and helped educate the public on the dangers of being on the wrong side of the law.
Craigavon PSNI has rebuked the criticism saying: “We are proud of our Facebook page and of the way it helps us to talk to our local community and listen to what they have to say.
“The number of likes on our page only tells part of the story. We are able to see that we are reaching more than 30,000 people through our Facebook page. This gives us the opportunity to help you stay safe and to keep you updated about we are doing in your area.
“You are helping us too – you are helping us solve crime and keep people safe.
“We use Facebook to let you know that we are out and about tackling crime in your area, to give you advice on how you can protect your property, valuables and, of course, yourself, to make you aware of crime and to listen to your concerns, issues and to answer the questions you want to ask.
“Our Facebook following has grown steadily since we first started and we are now close to 6000 likes. You are telling us that we are doing a good job so we will continue to post and update you and look at more ways to use social media and connect with you the way you want us to.”
If you would like to check it out, here is the link https://www.facebook.com/PSNI.Craigavon/timeline