The Ghana Police Service led by the Inspector General of Police, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, has been lauded for making good use of social media to communicate and interact with the public.
Mr. Charles Nii Ayiku, a Security Analyst and Lecturer at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Studies of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, who lauded the Police, said the use of social media would go a long way in ensuring that the Service promoted crime prevention efforts as well as enhance the image and reputation of the service.
Mr. Ayiku speaking with the Ghana News Agency in Tema said, “We live in a society where the use of social media is always on the ascendency, so if you are an organization and not actively on social media, then you are losing out on a lot, especially the opportunity to communicate as well as engage with your audience.”
He said adoption of the usage of social media to facilitate conversations and interactions between them and the public is laudable, noting that this would in a long way provide a connection with audiences that had been typically difficult to reach.
Mr. Ayiku said “As they are currently doing, the Police Service is now able to share information rapidly to the public, during public safety emergencies as they did during the road closures on the Spintex road, updates on investigations and arrests, weather warning alerts, and happenings within the Ghana Police Service, making them more transparent and having better control over their reputation.”
According to him, in addition to sharing information and tracking illegal activities, the social media usage by the Police had currently improved the public perception of the Ghana Police.
He indicated that there should be that sense of strong community relationship between the police and the populace, saying without social media it would be difficult for the police to achieve this, therefore incorporating social media into building that relationship is truly important and “I commend the Police service for doing that.”
Mr. Ayiku stated that the media relations with the Ghana Police Service would also be enhanced as most news outlets, especially the traditional media would pick up several posts from the Police social media channels to develop their stories and also share further.
He however advised the Police to be cautious about how increasingly sophisticated criminals had become making the work of the police more difficult, this he said included sending false IDs, viruses, accessing protected sites and many others.
“With several mobile apps and devices in the hands of criminals, some of them can get rid of evidence easier, making it a lot more difficult to go and uncover it; this calls for a lot more training and provision of devices to assist the Ghana Police Service.”
He also cautioned the Service to be careful on how they disclose personal information, sensitive operational materials and policing tactics, stressing that “They should be guided by their social media and website policy.”
He noted that the Ghana Police Service could use its relationship with Interpol to reach out to the companies of these major social media outlets especially during investigations.
Mr. Ayiku also cautioned the public against the misuse of social media as their activities could incriminate them.