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Forces "unskilled at using social media" says GMP chief constable

Instead of trying to 'virtue signal' on twitter officers should concentrate on tackling crime says Stephen Watson

GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson has said police forces are bad at using social media and instead of attempting to regain pulbic trust through 'virtue signalling' should get on with the core role of tackling crime.

After taking over a force which had been placed in special measures Mr Watson promised a “dialled up muscularity” in his approach to crime, leading to GMP being moved out of the measures last month.

In an interview with The Times he said: “Using social media, in these very contested times, requires a particular skill.

“And it’s a skill that we do not have. So for the most part, regardless of our intentions, we tend to use social media badly,” he added.

“And actually, reaching out to communities is all too often perceived as virtue signalling. And, candidly, in some cases it is virtue signalling.”

The chief constable said he had looked at officers’ social media and thought they should “get on with being the police because that’s what you are paid for”.

He added: “The public genuinely don’t care what I have for breakfast, or what my opinions are on contemporary social issues.”

Mr Watson was praised by the Home Secretary earlier this month, with Suella Braverman saying he “rejects woke policing”.

Mr Watson added: “I think that we are better served by dishing up to the public the things that they have every right to expect of us.

“And to just do that constantly, consistently, and to the exclusion of pretty much everything else.”

When he took over GMP, Mr Watson told Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham he would turn the force around with a plan to make more arrests, go after serious criminals with “real ferocity” and investigate every burglary.

Having moved the force out of special measures on October 28 HMICFRS said the force was now responding to calls more quickly, giving officers more time to focus on bringing offenders to justice and more accurately recording crime.

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