Police forces with strong social media presences are likely to have better relationships with the citizens, researchers have claimed.
A study that involved several European countries, found that in countries where the police social media presence was less strong, 'unofficial' pages were popular.
The research project, which is a part of the work of a group called Composite (Comparative Police Studies In The EU), said that a Facebook page containing news about the police in Berlin had 15,000 members.
"Police work in general and specific incidents are discussed in the social media anyway," the BBC quoted project co-ordinator Dr Sebastian Denef, from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology, as saying.
"Therefore, the question is not whether the social media are appropriate for police topics, but how the police forces get involved and reap the benefits. If the police is not active, others fill the void," Denef added.
According to the report, the study pointed out that 'during times of crises police forces highly benefit from established connections and trained practices on social media.'
"The voice of the police on social media receives a high level of trust that supersedes bogus information distributed online," the report said.
"Younger people.... simply do not subscribe to local newspapers any longer and often get their news solely via social media," it added. (ANI)