Police officers in Tayside, Scotland, will be tweeting on the beat from today.
A three-month pilot will use Twitter to keep their local communities with up to date on policing issues such as road and traffic information, police surgeries, crime prevention advice and campaigns.
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Gordon Scobbie, deputy chief constable of Tayside Police, said many forces are now realising that traditional methods of getting messages out are having less impact and are reaching fewer people.
"We need to embrace this form of communication because if we don't engage with people via social media they will move on without us and we will miss the opportunity to influence them, making it much more difficult to re-engage with them later," he said.
"Twitter is particularly important in sharing breaking news and frequently posts stories before they are reported in the traditional media. It also allows us to have meaningful two-way conversations which gives the public an instant voice on how policing is being delivered in their area," added Scobbie.
Tayside Police is also trialling MyPolice, an online feedback tool designed to enable the public to have an online conversation with the police.
Cabinet secretary for justice Kenny MacAskill said the move would help empower local communities.
"Twitter and MyPolice will provide a further opportunity for meaningful conversation, and the Scottish Government awaits the results of the pilot with interest," he added.