Sunday 8 November 2015

Complaint to Cambrideshire Constabulary

What can you do when faced with this kind of recalcitrance?

Copy of the email I've just sent to the city centre police team and to the PCC. Why the hell has it come to this?

Dear Sir/Madame,

I must complain about the way your staff have acted on twitter recently. May I ask that you log this as an official complaint please?

In response to your widely mocked #BadlyParkedBike campaign, many people (including myself) have been sharing images of badly parked cars - the alternative suggested by your staff later, which was to use #DaftParking, came too late, and 'daft' doesn't have the same connotations anyway. I think that members of the public this sharing images of cars blocking the pavement with you is a very positive thing - this is surely precisely the kind of interaction you want with us? Isn't it good that people are sending you images of antisocial and dangerous parking, regardless of what hashtag they use? Why are you treating this as a failure and not a resounding success?

I posted just such images on Saturday, one of them linked here. From here you can see the main body of tweets in reply, showing the behaviour I'm complaining about.

You can see that the response from @CambridgeCops was petulant - an outright refusal to look at evidence of cars illegally blocking the path purely on the basis of the wrong tag being used.

It is inappropriate for anyone working for the police service to refuse to look at evidence of criminality on such spurious grounds - that your social media campaign has been lampooned to the point where it has backfired badly is not an excuse to ignore dangerous and obstructive car parking. #badlyparkedbike has become, more or less in its entirety, a catalogue of bad car parking, whether you like it or not, and #daftparking barely shows up at all -and your desire to reverse this trend not only seems fruitless, but it is clearly getting in the way of good policing and is bringing the police service into disrepute.

I asked for the badge number of person tweeting on multiple occasions, and was first directed to phone 101, then to email you, then finally told to 'mark it up for the attention of collar no. 440. I still do not know from that comment whether thats the person making these tweets.

I do not believe it is okay for a police employee to tweet anonymously and make it such a huge deal out of being asked identify themselves when interracting with the public, and I believe it is flat out wrong to refuse to look at something because its got a hashtag that annoys you.

Please, for the good of the reputation of Cambridgeshire Constabulary if for no other reason, reconsider how you handle social media. You've got some superb, hard working, competent police officers, and they are being entirely failed by how electronic communications are handled. Please process this as a complaint as described above.

Yours sincerely,


  1. Is it not the case that the original intention of Cambridgeshire Constabulary's twitter campaign was to highlight among people parking their bikes the risk of not securing them properly, ie, locking wheels to frames and to secure docking points? I found the Twitter conversations difficult to follow but I think I saw something to that effect near the start of the campaign. Have to admit they could have chosen their hashtag much more carefully. They appear not to have made much effort to clarify this and only antagonised people on bikes further as a result.

  2. OK - I've been able to unravel the other related tweets on that issue. Seems my post above was premature. Feel free to remove both...

    1. Though on third reading, perhaps not after all. The first few examples of pics tweeted by #CambsCops show bikes improperly secured.

      However, going on to present the photo of a tree with bikes attached only serves to highlight another issue entirely - a lack of secure parking for bikes, so they fully deserve the ridicule they attracted.

      They also still made a hash of their hashtag and didn't clarify their position, so are quite culpable.

    2. Oh, if I'm honest, they made tits of themselves. Great folk at the constabulary, many of them, but they've been entirely let down by #badlyparkedbike and whoever was pushing it.

    3. Oh, if I'm honest, they made tits of themselves. Great folk at the constabulary, many of them, but they've been entirely let down by #badlyparkedbike and whoever was pushing it.