In an unprecedented step the Metropolitan Police has embraced social media by setting up its own Twitter profile page, initially to inform protestors of any operational updates at an upcoming rally.
The Twitter outreach initiative is part of a wider charm offensive by the Met, which was widely criticised for heavy-handed tactics during the G20 demonstrations earlier this year.
The CO11 Met Police Event Planning Team Twitter account, which so far has just 124 followers, is being managed by the "e-news team in the Directorate of Public Affairs, on behalf of colleagues across the department", according to a posting on the Met's web site.
"The account has been set up specifically to inform the Camp for Climate Action of any operational updates relating to the policing of their event starting on 26 August," the message continued.
"We may occasionally use some automation (such as tools which generate tweets from RSS feeds) but intend that this will not dominate the messages posted."
Other subjects that the force is expected to tweet about include information from emergency services, crime prevention advice and local community information relevant to participants of the Camp for Climate Action.
The Met said that its CO11 team will read all @replies and Direct Messages, although it will not be able to reply to any. "Being followed by us does not imply endorsement of any kind," it added rather sternly.
The news comes just days after a survey by a US research firm found that Twitter has very little real business value, and that 40 per cent of posts are "pointless babble".
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