Olympics Security: Social media key to Olympic policing efforts

British police aim to use Twitter and Facebook as key weapons against crime during the forthcoming Olympic Games, according to London Transport Police chief constable Andrew Totter.

Totter told the National Security 2012 conference in London that public campaigns designed to help transport police identify criminals and potential threats will be used by the police during the Olympic Games.

“The aid of the public using modern media is going to be important for policing, despite the concerns around it,” said Totter.

“We want to make it a great Games. It’s about everything from countering terrorism to catching the common pickpocket.”

Totter touted the success previous social media campaigns have had in catching people as evidence of the tactic’s effectiveness.

“The use of Twitter and YouTube all help us get names. Take that racist rant that appeared on YouTube earlier in the year,” said Totter.

“My people put out an appeal and found her on Facebook. She saw it and phoned up to confess – all this was done off a desktop.”

Despite his optimism, Totter warned that complete reliance on social media would be a mistake. He cited the sheer amount of false information that appeared on social networks, including Twitter, during the London riots as evidence that the services cannot be used as primary intelligence-gathering tools.

Prior to Totters’ comments, the Home Office’s Security and Counter-Terrorism department director Richard Clarke warned the risks from online attacks facing the UK is growing in the run-up to the Olympics.

This article was originally posted on v3.co.uk on 3rd July 2012

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