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Detectives get social media training

Investigations get social boost - but it's "not just training police to use Twitter"...
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Written by Shelley Portet on

Investigations get social boost - but it's "not just training police to use Twitter"...

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has announced plans to modernise detective training, with officers learning how to track suspects on social networks and other web-based technologies.

As well as improving investigations into honour killing and dealing with vulnerable people, the training will also focus on "making police officers increasingly aware of the power of technology", a spokesman for the NPIA told silicon.com.

The 3,500 detectives who take the NPIA's Initial Crime Investigators Development Programme each year will receive the new training from early in 2011, according to the agency.

The programme will also teach officers how to obtain evidence from hardware, including computers, mobile phones, CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras as well as social media.

"Detectives are under a legal obligation to explore all avenues and in this day and age that includes social networking sites," the spokesman added.

Detectives are to receive training in how to use social networking sites for police work

Detectives are to receive training in how to use social networking sites in their investigations
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

However, according to the NPIA spokesman, the new plans are "not just training police to use Twitter".

Meanwhile, some forces are already adopting the microblogging service. Last month, staff at Greater Manchester Police posted details on Twitter of each incident officers were called to investigate over a 24-hour period.

Technology is also playing an increasing role in the lives of criminals as well as police. The government last month pledged £650m of funding for an anti-cybercrime programme to strengthen key government, critical national infrastructure and defence computer systems against cyber attack, after a government report declared Britain is under "sustained cyber attack today".

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