Thursday, 15 October 2009

What should and shouldn't GVTAPS be tweeting?

Everybody and their dog has a Twitter account these days and it should be no surprise that the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority Police Service (or GVTAPS for short) has one for thesmelves.

While I am not here to make public my position on how the police conducts themselves overall, I do wish to put into question whether or not it is a bright idea to have an on-duty sergeant (in this case, Sgt. Tom Seaman) actively tweeting, I do wish to point out some oddball and questional tweets.

Case in point is this tweet and the followup all made today:

In this situation, a suspicious person reportedly came on to the train brandishing a knife that may or may not exist and was reported to transit police. Why is the officer tweeting about it before any action is taken? It seems almost pointless and produces fear mongering. If someone like myself were to check my Twitter while en-route to a station between King George (referred to as "KG"), Scott Road ("SR"), or Columbia, I'd be a tad apprehensive. The likelihood of myself boarding the same train as this supposed individual would have been small due to the distance between the stations, but regardless, it might make me a bit uneasy about boarding the train.

Quite simply, the tweet is unnecessary. If they had tweeted after the fact that they caught this guy (which they did not), then all would be well and it wouldn't be something worthwhile commenting on here in the blog. However, they did tweet this and then reported that the guy was never found.

The other question I have is how the heck did the reporting person know that someone had a knife hidden in their bag?

I hope that in the future that tweets are more common with government and civil agencies, but I do want to see some caution thrown in as well. I am glad to see that Sgt. Seaman is taking the time to take on public relations in a realm that is moreso chaotic and anarchistic than what he and the force would be used to, but my concern still rests.