Police Identify Convicted UK Rioters on Twitter: Names & Addresses

The dreadful riots that have struck the UK over the last week have been the subject of much debate about just how the situation should be handled and the response to the criminal element involved. Today Greater Manchester Police has begun a controversial initiative whereby the force is identifying convicted rioters by posting details of their names, addresses, dates of birth and sentences on Twitter.

We’ve previously talked about the role that social media may have played in the rioting and earlier today told how Prime Minister David Cameron has now suggested the possibility of blocking social media as part of a plan for the prevention of future rioting. News that the Greater Manchester Police naming and shaming those convicted of criminal damage and disorder during the riots came to us from Jennifer Van Grove over on Mashable. The move was announced yesterday and sure enough this morning the first of those people it pertains to were identified on the microblogging site.

On the @gmpolice account a tweet read, “We promised we’d name all those convicted for their roles in the disorder – here we go …”. Around a dozen convicted rioters have so far been identified on the Twitter account. Although social media seems to be taking a lot of the blame for how the riots have been organized it should be noted that just as it sometimes has a negative association with criminality, positives are also evident. For example we told how riot cleanup operations were being organized through Twitter and Facebook. It seems that Greater Manchester Police also recognize the benefits of social media and it’s ironic that the platforms that many used for rioting are now being used by the police.

As well as using Twitter to identify those convicted of rioting Greater Manchester Police is also making use of Facebook and as well as that are publishing photos and videos of the rioting on its Flickr account and website and asking for the public to assist them in identifying those involved. There seems to be mixed feelings so far as to whether the force should be identifying those who have been convicted in this way although we reckon the vast majority would think it was justified. Some feel that the amount of information given by the police is too much though but the force’s response to that criticism was that it was legally bound to publish dates of birth and addresses so that other people with the same name would not be misidentified.

It’s certainly food for thought and we’d like to hear your opinions about this. Do you think identifying the culprits in this way is fully justified or maybe you think the level of information given is excessive? Let us know with your comments.

  • http://www.socialmarketingdynamics.com/ Sydney @ Social Dynamics

    I get the whole identifying thing seems to be important for them, because these people thought that they could get away without being identified. But really, they also posted their addresses? That’s just dangerous all together.