Northumbria Police Explore the Power of Social Media

In 2018, Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, announced that Facebook had began to “shift ranking to make News Feeds more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.” As a result, businesses have seen a massive decline in their organic reach meaning some had no option but to turn to the platforms advertising offering to get their message out there.

Now more than ever audience engagement and interaction has become a priority for businesses using Facebook to stay connected to their customers and prospects. Capturing the attention of your audience can be extremely difficult but when done creatively can spark conversations and reactions.

An example of an organisation on top of their social media game is Northumbria Police. They have recently launched a light-hearted summer social media campaign to catch some of the North East’s most wanted suspects.

The campaign kicked off with an image of a uniformed officer posing on a deckchair surrounded by inflatables in a force custody suite, describing it as a “tropical paradise”. Posts following the launch then invited suspects to the “Copper Cabana” beach party.

Over the space of a week, the force released details of individuals wanted in relation to a number of offences including burglary, fraud and robbery and it’s caused quite the local media stir!

Alice Fairweather, our social media guru, discusses their creative use of social media to solve crimes…

“I imagine it’s a very challenging job, managing the police’s social media. The tone of voice used, the language used, the imagery and the conversation replies, all would have to be thoroughly considered before any action. I would love to get my hands on their social media strategy.

The social media team have really thought outside the box with this campaign. The use of attractive graphics differentiates the posts to their usual mug shot appeals, making them a lot more attention-grabbing to scrollers such as myself. The language used and the tone of voice also massively separates the posts; they are humorous and playful in comparison to the usual straight-to-the-point and informative posts.

The campaign coincides with the time of year – exemplified by references to Love Island in a few of their posts. It’s noticeable that all of the suspects are young men, who are more likely to use social media and know what Love Island is. I think the posts speak to the younger generation – they’ve certainly sparked interaction from this audience.

The objective for this campaign was to find wanted individuals, but off the back of this viral effect, the force has received an overwhelming amount of interaction and engagement. For example, one post reached a staggering 6k likes, 1.3k comments and 2.3k shares on Facebook.

I looked at Northumbria Police’s Twitter profile to see how the campaign has affected channel growth this week and they’ve received an extra 339 followers the week of the campaign as a result.

As well as the engagement and growth uplift across all social media channels, amazingly, they have caught most of their suspects and have praised followers for the intelligence which has led to the arrests.”

This wasn’t the first of its kind campaigns by Northumbria Police. In a recent statement, the force said:

We have had huge success with previous wanted campaigns at Christmas and on Valentine’s Day and this campaign is already seeing similar success.

Those previous campaigns were done in a light-hearted and quirky manner and the posts were viewed millions of times because of that.

Ultimately, those campaigns have led to the arrest of eight people. Three of those people have already been convicted at court. Some of those offenders are now behind bars for those offences and that is because of this campaign and the reaction from the public.”

Clearly, the organisation have been experimenting with social media strategies to encourage a response from their audience and have been successful in doing so. They have crafted together a local community on Facebook which is full of likeminded individuals who all care about their community. The power of social media!

If you would like help with your social media strategy, please do get in touch!


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