REGIONAL POLICE FORCE TAKES COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ONLINE
Northamptonshire Police became the first force to hold live Q&A sessions to ease public anxieties. It has since been widely praised for the innovative and transparent engagement.
The sessions led by chief constable Nick Adderley took place on Facebook, with seven hours of accumulated content. During months of great uncertainty in 2020, these sessions were perfectly timed to provide comfort to worried communities.
The pandemic presented an opportunity for Northamptonshire Police to think creatively about how to update the public in a way that felt personal and authentic. The use of digital communications strengthened their reputation as a community focused police force.
The idea began with chief constable Nick Adderley and superintendents Sarah Johnson and Elliot Foskett taking questions every Thursday at 4.30pm live on Facebook.
The Northamptonshire Police trio stuck with the weekly routine for over three months answering hundreds of questions, covering everything from lockdown regulations to the protection of frontline workers. The format was praised for feeling authentic and allowing direct and immediate communication with audiences. The digital communication was so successful that people began tuning in internationally.
Sessions tailored for children also took place and featured two police force dogs. This allowed young people to ask officers questions and talk about their specific worries, which included questions about police crocodiles and cats.
Adderley says, “This wasn’t simply a PR exercise – I do not ever want to hide from the public. Some of the questions have been hard but that’s good as our residents deserve those answers.”
Eleven sessions have been held so far with over 240,000 viewers and a high engagement of over 4,000 comments on Facebook.