In some policing areas in the UK English is very much the second language and the variety of languages spoken is overwhelming. This poses real problems for all aspects of policing, as essentially, policing is about people and people are about effective communication. No communication = ineffective policing.
Just to add to the problem, online social communication within and between individuals, groups and communities has seen explosive growth and is only just getting started.
So, with budgets being more tightly constrained than ever and translation costs at an all time high, how can local police communicate with non english speaking communities?
Well, fortunately, it’s not only communities that have embraced weblife and social media. Increasingly neighbourhood teams and units are to be found using twitter, facebook and google+. Just this week Hampshire Police’s Portsmouth City Centre Team (find them on twitter at @pompeyccupolice
) were named the top ‘UK cops that tweet’ in a competition organised by the NPIA’s Knowledge Manager, Nick Keane (@nickkeane
Now the teams and forces that have embraced social media tools such as Google+
(find me at gplus.to/openeyecomms) , have a new friend that will help them communicate in the social media environment more effectively, Google translate for Google+
Launched fairly recently Google Translate for Google+
is a browser extension for Chrome (Google’s browser platform) that translates posts and comments in your G+ stream into more than 50 languages. Sure it has a few issues, but it’s free and a really useful addition to social media cross language communication. Simply click the links next to the particular post or comment and you get an instant translation. Amazing stuff.
However, as always, just as one (tech) opportunity opens up, another closes down. This (partially) lost intelligence opportunity comes courtesy of Flickr, the fabulous online photo sharing site.
This last week Flickr introduced the ability to geofence the pictures that you upload. In simple terms that means that you can draw a circle on a map and then designate (e.g. friends and family, contacts etc) who can see the locations (you can draw circles on up to 10 locations) of photos taken within that geofenced area. Intel units everywhere start weeping now.
My understanding is that you can still see the pics that are uploaded, but not the data that shows you where they were taken. This is pretty important stuff because most people just don’t realise that many smartphones and gps enabled cameras automatically add location data to your pictures.
Not sure you want everyone to see where your pictures were taken and be able to track you? Me neither.