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Close pass pioneers at West Midlands Police aim for police Twitter award

West Midlands Police are seeking nominations for the Police Twitter awards, for their efforts to educate and inform the general public on, among other things, safe driving around cyclists, via social media.

Tweeting as @Trafficwmp, the twitter account of the pioneers of the close pass operation shares general information about the rules of the road relating to cycling and how to drive safely around people cycling, and at times intervenes to clarify misperceptions, including among its fellow police forces.

The CMPG (Central Motorway Policing Group) - Road Policing, which covers the motorway and roads division of West Midlands Police, also publicises offenders caught by its officers, and the unit’s community outreach work.

The annual Police Twitter Awards recognises the best tweeting in police work across the board, from police sergeants, special constables and PCSOs, to aviation and international accounts, to police dog and police horse accounts – as well as the best roads policing account.

They share images from their close pass work on the street

They make amusing use of hashtags...

...and though the initiative is mostly about education, they don’t mess around with prosecution, when the need arises. 

In July they tweeted “Not guilty plea resulted in a full trial, defendant found guilty of driving without due care. 4 points & £1038 in fines/costs #OpClosePass”

As well as using Twitter to publicise the risks of not driving responsibly and within the law, the force also uses Twitter to educating social media users on the rights and responsibilities of drivers and cyclists – and to help improve attitudes towards, and respect for, cyclists.  It’s not unusual to see ill-informed opinions being corrected by CPMG Roads Policing on Twitter - and it's hard to argue with the police.

One Twitter user sums up their charm nicely here – road safety treated seriously, with a bit of mirth thrown in.

They also engage in pro-active policing - targeting places people will want to cycle, before they are put off doing so by poor driving.

The force gets the thumbs up from Chris Boardman 

Members of the public can vote in the Police Twitter Awards, via Twitter, until 31st August. Any nominations must be in the following format: I nominate @name in Category [number] #poltawards

A nomination for West Midlands Traffic Police account would read: I nominate @Trafficwmp in Category 8 #poltawards

Nominations will be judged by a panel of experts, who will decide the three finalists in each category. For more ways to nominate, visit here.

​Last year’s overall winner was Sergeant Harry Tangye - @DC_ARVSgt - of Devon & Cornwall Police.

 

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