Police use of social media: Empirical research is necessary

Research output: Other contribution


In 2010, Mawby identified police interest in new media as “worthy of further research” (p.135). However, since then few studies have advanced knowledge on this area. This primarily relates to the ways in which social media serves as a communications channel for many police forces. In its broadest sense, communication signifies the exchange of information (Bessonov, 2008) whereas social media, specifically refers to online platforms which facilitate these practices (Ellison and Boyd, 2013). A useful starting point for understanding any phenomenon, whether that is a particular theory, policy or practice is to identify the underpinning context in which this emerges. In doing this, it is possible to appreciate why police forces have started to use social media in communication terms. Additionally, we begin to unveil what the future linked to this aspect of policing might look like. In turn, this blog argues two main points. Firstly, social media is significant to twenty-first century policing. Secondly, empirical research on this area is necessary in order to work towards evidence-based practice.
Original languageEnglish
TypeBlog post
Media of outputOnline
PublisherBritish Society of Criminology Policing Network
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


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