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Police start social media trial

IN A bid to boost communication with the community while at the same time providing an extra tool to help with crime investigations, Blackwater police last month kicked off a social media trial they believe has been

"massively” helping local investigations.

Officer in charge of Blackwater Police Station, Sergeant Rob Smith, said police were aware social media could be a "powerful” way to share information quickly and easily with a large number of people.

The station is part of a statewide trial being held after the success of the Queensland Police Service Facebook page.

Along with five other stations - Cloncurry, Howard, Hughenden,

Moura and Thursday Island - Blackwater was selected to operate a Facebook

page, 'myPolice Blackwater', on a 12-month trial basis.

Sgt Smith said policing was about fostering a "partnership with the community”.

"The community need to have faith in the ability of police to do their job and be confident to report and provide information to police,” he said.

"Whilst we investigate and solve many offences that have been reported, we found that prior to the implementation of the Facebook page, many

people were not aware of

the results that our local police had been achieving.

"And we found that the community were not aware of the many and varied types of jobs we attended.”

When investigating a crime, police relied on the community for information.

"Many crimes have been solved by the community providing that missing

piece of the puzzle that is needed to make an arrest,” Sgt Smith said.

"It is important for us to let the community know what crimes have

happened and to ask for their help.

"We found that Facebook was the perfect platform for us to share information.”

Every week, Blackwater police produce a Blackwater Crime Wrap which appeals for information on crimes as well as including community news and crime prevention advice.

"From talking to the community, we feel they are loving local police engaging with the local community through social media,” Sgt Smith said.

"People are talking to us about information they have seen through our Facebook page.”

The Facebook page has also allowed people living temporarily in Blackwater, or in mining camps where 2950 people live, to keep up to date with the community.

Community members are asked to 'like' or follow the Facebook page to be kept up to date with information relating to Blackwater.

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