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Riot Police Promise To Spend More Time on Twitter

by | 8th, August 2011

POLICE Officers promised to spend more time on Twitter trying to predict where violence would break out after copycat riots sprang up in Brixton, Walthamstow, Dalston, Islington, Westfield, Oxford Circus and Ponders End following the protest about the death of Mark Duggan in Enfield on Saturday night.

Speaking on the Today programme, the Met’s Steve Kavanagh said that his forces would be monitoring Twitter. News of the protests spread instantly across the capital, people started tweeting lists of shops they wanted to break into and police were left scrabbling around with almost no police in Brixton protecting shops. The BBC correspondent says that kids were able to bash in the front of a Footlocker store on Brixton high street for about 20 minutes before any police intervened.

Nick duBois Conservative MP for Enfield North said: “these people you’ve just seen running down the street, on their phones, playing around on their social media- there’s no cause here, there’s just sheer criminal behaviour”.

Still, even if the police bump up their Twitter analysis, they can’t monitor private instant chat services like BBM or WhatsApp. Even the Google + huddle function – which lets you message select groups of people from your phone and share your location could get used for this kind of thing. Though we don’t think that the nerds & tech journalists who populate Google +are likely to be out smashing in JJB Sports.

Kettling proved effective for the student riots – not least because bunching a lot of people together in one place knocks the mobile signal and 3G internet, but these roaming random riots require much better-informed, faster-moving policing. We’re not sure that the Met are up to it – yet anyway. They never hear  the message – they only use Twitter and other media to broadcast their won voice…

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PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN PICTURES OF THE RIOT IN TOTTENHAM TAKEN SATURDAY AUGUST 6. Riot police patrol the streets in Tottenham, north London as trouble flared after members of the community took to the streets to demand "justice", after Mark Duggan, 29, was shot dead by police on Thursday.



Posted: 8th, August 2011 | In: Key Posts, Technology Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink