The police of many countries have started sharpening their skills in social networks because mass riots and meetings have recently been organized through the Internet.
In Britain, 2,500 police officers have started studying the intricacies of “Managing Anger” in Twitter and Facebook. The initiative was put forward by a Sheffield police inspector Jayne Forrest who was the first among her colleagues to start engaging radical protesters using Twitter. Her calls on the social media not to go into crime not only calmed the potential rioters but also upgraded the rating of the police. At present, there are 20,000 subscribers on the Sheffield police pages in Twitter and Facebook and this shows that the police is on the right track: preventing crimes comes first.
The Russian law enforcement agencies have armed themselves with the experience of their British colleagues. They not only watch the social networks with respect to extremism but also use it to inform the public about their work, says an expert in competitive surveillance Professor Yevgeny Yuschuk in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
The Sverdlovsk region’s police was the first in Russia to post a channel on the video hosting site www.youtube.com. The site posted not only professional videos made by journalists but also those done during police raids. This provides information to the public and works in favour of the police,” says Yevgeny Yuschuk.
In fact, the Russian law enforcement agencies have recently started using the Internet more often as a tool for their work, says Yevgeny Yuschuk.
“A few days ago, two young people in St. Petersburg squabbled over a car and one of them threw a grenade and ran away. During the investigation, information about the young man who ran away was analyzed using his remarks in the social network VKontakte. This helped police to arrest the suspect. There was another incident in Yekaterinburg during which the opponents of new rules on tinted glass of vehicles agreed on holding an unsanctioned gathering through the social media. The traffic police received this information and came to the place where they gathered and fined the protestors for holding an unauthorized meeting,” Yevgeny Yuschuk said.
The social media is an excellent tool to monitor emergency situations. This is confirmed by the U.S. experience. The CIA has set up a special unit to work with the so-called “Internet-Ninja”. Daily, a group of analysts submit a report to the White House containing information gathered from tweets, newspaper articles and new information on Facebook. Sometimes the CIA’s Open Sour Centre processes up to 5 million tweets a day. The analysts also control news items on TV channels, local radio stations and Internet-chats and forums. In this case, the Israelis are the most active and their armed forces are regularly watching the social networks with respect to possible riots.