Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Ards police pipped for Slugger award

It's all too easy to complain. It is important to give the nod to those who are making a difference.

The PSNI in Ards has been commended for ‘creative engagement’ in the community after finishing runner-up at a leading political award ceremony last week.

Their use of social media that includes a facility to text them if your house is empty, as well as a successful facebook group that updates the Ards community on local policing issues, (currently has over 7,000 followers), made the top three in the ‘creative engagement’ category at the Slugger O’Toole Awards at the Black Box in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter last Thursday, February 10.

The police, however, were pipped at the post by the DUP, whose recent party conference impressed the judging panel who praised the progressive nature of the speeches and the fact that non-members were invited onto the podium to challenge the party.

Mick Fealty, the man behind Slugger O’Toole, explained: “It’s been a tricky year for those in public office in Northern Ireland with the recession, corporate governance issues and personal problems, but we hope that the Slugger Awards can acknowledge those who are doing good work in politics, the media and society.

“It’s all too easy to complain, and I’m sure we all do it, but sometimes it is important too to give the nod to those who are making a difference.”

The Awards, now in their third year, were held in association with public affairs company Stratagem and were sponsored by Channel 4. Quintin Oliver of Stratagem said: “Sometimes we forget how far politics has come here, so this ceremony will give us the opportunity to move beyond the regular political discussions, debates and criticisms and to celebrate excellent work that has been done in the past year.”

Earlier this month, the facebook site made BBC news after posting photos of suspected shoplifters and appealing for information on them from the public.

The force created the Facebook sites in Bangor and Holywood as well as Ards, just over a year ago — the Ards site is the largest viewed police operated Facebook page in the UK and Ireland.

A spokesperson for Ards PSNI said they were “pleased” with the recognition.

“The Police Service of Northern Ireland have been increasing their use of Facebook and Twitter as they are another way of communicating with people who want to engage with us and contribute to the policing debate. In fact, the whole medium of social networking presents us with a variety of new ways to engage.

“Social media can provide great opportunities for engagement at both corporate and community levels. At the very least, it provides us with another medium for our messag and at best, delivers a whole new world of interaction.”

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