Managing the risks of public discourse on the New South Wales Police force facebook site

Andrew Kelly

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As of June 2013, the New South Wales Police Force had established 117 Facebook sites as part of its Project Eyewatch community-policing strategy. The strategy seeks to engage the public on the web in a way that allows people to lead their busy lives and still contribute to community policing objectives. Internationally, few policing organisations have been as keen to embrace web communication with many officers skeptical about the value of web communication and others concerned about the risk of offensive, illegal or libelous comments being posted on police-managed websites. This study evaluates these risks in the context of the New South Wales Police Force’s corporate Facebook site and considers the role of legislation, technology and self-regulation in managing risk. Facebook dialogue is examined for evidence of illegal, offensive, or objectionable content and the steps taken by the New South Wales Police Force to mitigate the risk are also considered. The study concludes that the risks of engaging the public on Facebook can be minimised and are far outweighed by the benefits, which include enhanced contact and engagement with the public.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-42
Number of pages24
JournalSalus Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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