48,000 following MPD on Twitter

Kyodo

A Twitter account run by the Crime Prevention Section of the Metropolitan Police Department is proving popular for the officers’ personal comments and had attracted more than 48,000 followers as of Monday.

The section opened the account on the free microblogging service last November to provide information on remittance frauds, snatching incidents and other cases. However, when the tweets proved unpopular among the police, who found the entries dull, more personal, lighthearted tweets were added that month.

An officer in his 40s who introduced himself as a “full-time worker” tweeted: “I’m one of those who eat ‘taiyaki’ (fish-shaped bean paste cakes) from the head” and “When I got on the elevator, I forgot to press the button for the floor I was trying to reach and ended up on a top floor for no reason.”

The tweets, updated several times a day, about the officer’s stories of failure or sweets eaten during his breaks have attracted other Twitter users.

The MPD temporarily suspended the account in March due to criticism that it was inappropriate for a police department to engage in such activities. But with numerous email requests that the account be restarted, it was resumed four days later. The blog is now being written by two officers.

“If (the tweets) are not interesting, no one would read them,” said the “full-time worker.” “We believe the whole Metropolitan Police Department should be more active on Twitter.”