Police today launched a three-pronged twitter campaign as Leeds welcomed a huge influx of revellers for one of the busiest weekends of the year.
Hundreds of thousands of people were set to descend on the city for the crowd-pulling Leeds Festival and Monday’s West Indian Carnival.
The city centre is also expected to be packed with people making the most of the longer weekend.
In a bid to keep the public informed – and to quash any potentially damaging “rumours” – police have launched their most co-ordinated ever bank holiday social media campaign.
Officers on the ground at the carnival and the Leeds Festival, and on patrol in the city centre, will tweet about any incidents and offer crime prevention and personal safety advice.
There will also be updates on Facebook.
Chief Inspector Matt Davison, who heads North East Leeds division’s neighbourhood policing teams, said social media were an increasingly important tool for police.
“It comes into its own with events like these,” he said.
“It’s the element of having live-time feeds about heavy disruption or to communicate information if there’s a critical incident that is really useful.
“We have a new generation of police officers communicating with a new generation of people and it’s something we need to be doing.
“Sir Robert Peel said ‘the police are the people and the people are the police’. This is a very modern example of that working in practice.”
Chapel Allerton Neighbourhood Policing Team will be tweeting from the carnival on their Twitter feed @wypCAnpt.
Wetherby Neighbourhood Policing Team, which will be working alongside Leeds Festival organisers, will be tweeting on @wypWHnpt.
City Neighbourhood Policing Team will be updating its Twitter feed @MillgarthNPT.
Chief Insp Davison said the campaign would also be a useful way of correcting any misleading information.
“You would be amazed at some of the rumours you hear,” he said.
“You’ll get people claiming that a sex offender is on the loose when it has absolutely no basis in fact.
“To be able to go to our divisional intelligence systems and confirm categorically that there is nothing to worry about means we can easily nip things in the bud.”
He added: “We’re looking forward to the weekend.
“It will be a challenge, but the challenging part is in making sure that we do everything we can to ensure that everyone can enjoy themselves safely and happily.”