Live event 'lifts lid' on policing in Sussex

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The Independent Online

A Chief Constable has pledged to "lift the lid on policing in 2011" as part of a digital project launched today to provide a behind-the-scenes insight into their work.









Using mobile phones, laptops and a free, live video streaming application, the "day in the life" account of Sussex Police's activities will run on the force's website.



During the day-long event, people will interact directly with officers and staff from across the county via video links from police cars, buildings and on the streets.



As part of the Sussex Police People: Live initiative, the public will also be able to join in with webchats, interactive walkabouts where they can direct cameras and on Twitter using the hashtag £SPPlive.



Twelve people from different backgrounds and locations across the force will share their stories about policing in pictures, videos and words.



Participants will have smartphones allowing them to communicate when they are on jobs, providing "an eclectic mixture of observations, stories and feelings" told in their own way.



Live events planned include an interactive forensics lab walkabout, a webchat with Chief Constable Martin Richards, a diving exercise by the force's search unit and attachments with road policing, dogs and neighbourhood response teams.



Some live streams may be cut or muted for legal reasons but Sussex Police broadly aims to broadcast the challenges its officers and staff face on a daily basis.



Greater Manchester Police broke new ground last year by using Twitter to post details of every incident reported over a 24-hour period.



But Sussex Police's project is understood to be the first time any force in the world has broadcast live video streaming of its work.



Mr Richards said: "We're in a period of extraordinary change for policing, with important questions being asked nationally about the transparency and accountability of police forces.



"In the midst of this debate, it hasn't always been easy to show the public what policing is really like or give them an easy way to talk to us and get more involved.



"Sussex Police People is our answer to this. It will provide a behind-the-scenes view of how we police Sussex and a window to the thoughts, feelings and experiences of our police officers and staff.



"We will be showing the public aspects of policing that they might not know about, and offer new ways for local people to share their views with us."



The idea is said to be part of a commitment to provide an "intimate view" of policing through the eyes of those on the front line along with promoting new ways for people to contact them.



Mr Richards added: "The technical side is interesting, but what's most important is how Sussex Police People will help us speak and listen to local people in the best ways possible, to help them better understand what we do and to make us as accessible as possible.



"Some of this can be achieved by innovative use of technology, but this will not be at the expense of other effective methods.



"We will lift the lid on policing in 2011 and highlight many ways people can interact with us, whether online or off.



"While the live event may last a day, we have a genuine and lasting commitment to being open with people about how we work and listening to their views. I'm hopeful that people who are interested by the event will stay in touch well into the future."



Hans Erikkson, executive chairman of Bambuser, which is responsible for the live video streaming service, said: "In today's digital age, it's important that organisations utilise technology like Bambuser to effectively and cheaply showcase what they're doing, and how taxpayers' money is being used.



"If you recall this time last year, Manchester police tweeted every incident they dealt with over 24 hours. But what Sussex Police is doing is taking this idea of live, digital engagement and moving it into a new dimension."

PA