SOCIAL media platforms are powerful ways for organisations to reach their audiences, so if you want a successful organisation you cannot afford to ignore social media. The Zimbabwe Republic Police is lagging behind in this area.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and WhatsApp for the force are now valuable, if not more valuable. Social media platforms are now traditional brands for any organisation. Using them helps humanise the ZRP by allowing departments to connect and converse with the general public, but more importantly, it provides a platform for police officers to share information quickly and respond to tips from civilians who are often more forthcoming over social media than they would be in person. It is a well-known fact that social media platforms are always available on our mobile devices, making them the quickest way of interacting.
There is no doubt that there is a direct link between social media and our law enforcement agencies. According to a 2013 social media survey by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the findings confirm that 96% of police forces use social media in some capacity, with more than 80% confirming that social media platforms have helped their forces solve crimes, and 73% of agencies confirming that it helped improve police-community relationships in their jurisdiction.
It's encouraging to see the ZRP men and women taking to social media with the purpose to identify wanted criminals and solving crimes by encouraging the general public to report. In other countries, their police force now have social media officers whose role is to respond to requests by the general public.
It is time the ZRP removes its suggestion boxes that are dotted around the country and use the readily available social media platforms to deal with crimes and suggestions. There is now a need to have social media policy on how the social media officers can and must utilise these platforms.
Government has been pushing for the use of information and communications technology in our day-to-day activities and a way of cutting costs in business.
There is no doubt that by using social media platforms, officers will massively reduce the cost of doing business within the ZRP and effectively reduce the administrative bottlenecks that exist within the organisation.
There is no better time to embrace social media platforms and push for its implementation than now.