Manchester Police use Twitter


The police force in Manchester, UK works really hard. In fact, they get hundreds of emergency calls every hour.

Even so, the city councillors wanted to cut the police budget. As many as one in four police workers would be eliminated.

The police realized that the politicians didn’t understand how hard the Manchester police force was working. So, for 24 hours, they posted every one of the calls that came through on their emergency line to Twitter. (Twitter is a program on the Internet that lets people know, in 140 words or less, what’s happening.)

The police figured that if the public and the politicians could see just how many calls they get, and how hard they work, they would be less likely to cut the police budget.

Some of the calls they get are reports of children running away, abandoned animals or suspicious people. However, some of them are quite humorous. In any case, the police have to take every call seriously and check each one out.

Here are some of the emergency calls they posted on Twitter:

  • Call 384: Report of man holding baby over bridge. Police immediately attended and it was man carrying dog that doesn’t like bridges.
  • Call 466: Complaint that builders have turned up to complete work two months late in Bolton.
  • Call 749: Call from a member of the public about their car insurance.
  • Call 686: Man shouts “you’re gorgeous!” to woman.
  • Call 1079: Woman reports her horse refuses to come back over bridge.
  • Call 1634: Suspicious men carrying a snake, Bolton.
  • Call 281: Someone in Salford complains about being woken up.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
Do you think police should have to check out every call that comes in? Why or why not? Use information from the article and your own ideas to support your answer.

Look at the list of emergency calls that the police posted on Twitter. Rank the calls in order from most important to least important. In your opinion, which call do you think was the most serious and why?

Reading Prompt
Websites like Twitter and Facebook are used to send information to a lot of people at once. The police force in Manchester used Twitter to inform the public and the city councilors as to how busy they are. Do you think Twitter was the best way for them to do this? Are there other forms of media that would allow them to send out their message to a large audience in a more effective way?

Describe how different audiences might respond to specific media texts (OME, Media Literacy: 1.4)

Explain why different audiences might respond differently to the same media text (OME, Media Literacy: 1.4)

Grammar Feature: Colon
A colon (:) is a punctuation mark that is used before a list or an explanation. How do colons in today’s article help you understand the text?