#HumansofWakefieldPolice: Why Wakefield police officers have started sharing personal stories on Twitter

Frontline police officers in Wakefield are sharing personal stories from their lives as part of a social media project to show the human side of the force.

Thursday, 14th December 2017, 3:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th December 2017, 3:40 pm
PC Serena Rickard is one of those who has shared her story via #HumansofWakefieldPolice

The series on Twitter, which has won praise from senior officers and members of the public, was the idea of Wakefield East neighbourhood policing team co-ordinator Irene Fleming."

"I have always tried to showcase the human behind the uniform using social media and the press," she said.

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"I noticed there were similar sites showcasing humans being human, but no one was doing this in the police, so I thought this would be a great way to show the police as humans.

"I really want the public to see the real person behind the uniform. They are mums and dads and have poorly family members and friends, they have to do the school runs and have the same worries that everyone has, they endure life like everyone else. They just happen to wear a uniform that people have their own perceptions of."

Persuading colleagues to share such personal experiences might seem a challenge, but Irene said the response from them had been very positive.

She said. "They think it is a great idea and long overdue. They don’t always get positive press or the opportunity to show that they are human too, so this has gone down really well.

PC Craig Newbould revealed that he had trained as a ballet dancer when he was a child.

"Although the general response I first receive is ‘I am really boring’, once they start talking about their life it’s not long before they produce fantastic anecdotes.

"Some of the stories have come about from them chatting to me about something personal in their life. I listen and then ask if I can put it on Twitter. People are probably going to stop telling me things soon!"

Many of the stories posted have gone on to receive hundreds of likes and Twitter users have helped to spread them around the globe by sharing them with their own followers.

Claire Andre (@LovelyClaireyA) said: "Amazing idea! More than just a uniform. A must read hashtag #HumansofWakefieldPolice"

Peter Kirkham (@Peter_Kirkham) wrote: "Have a look at the #HumansOfWakefieldPolice hashtag being run by @WYP_IFleming - little single tweet biographies of her colleagues. Excellent way of opening people's eyes to the fact that the police really ARE the people and the people are the police! #GoodPoliceWork"

Irene said she was overwhelmed by the reaction and messages of congratulation received since she started the series.

She said: "It’s only been running two weeks and already other forces, and districts within West Yorkshire Police, have tweeted to say that they would like to do the same in their area which is great.

"Everyone has a story to tell and the more police officers that do this, the better. Everyone needs to know the police are human too."

PC Craig Newbould revealed that he had trained as a ballet dancer when he was a child.

Chief Inspector Richard Close of Wakefield District Police, said: “We fully support this initiative as a brilliant piece of community engagement which helps remind residents that our officers are human beings and normal, predominantly local people with much same lives and interests as many people in the communities they serve.

“Policing can only work well if it is in partnership with residents in local areas and if those residents recognise a familiar face as someone they can relate to and openly communicate with.

“We work hard within Wakefield District Police to build strong partnerships with our many and varied communities and support any scheme which helps us achieve them.”

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Stories shared in the #HumansofWakefieldPolice series