Operation Scorpion has sting in tail
POLICE harnessed the power of the internet to help stay on top of football-related crime as England crashed out of Euro 2012 on Sunday.
Twitter users followed Gloucestershire Constabulary's focus on key disorder hotspots as part of Operation Scorpion, aimed at dealing with violence, drink-driving and domestic abuse.
Many of those who followed the progress of the operation using the hash tag #opscorpion praised the force for keeping them abreast of the action off the pitch.
And the constabulary used the social network site to remind anyone thinking of straying over the line that a night in the cells might be their overnight accommodation.
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Between 3.30pm and 1am, there were 14 arrests for offences including drink-driving, assault and disorderly conduct.
Superintendent Rob Priddy, who oversees Operation Scorpion, said: "The operation continues to be a success at dealing with alcohol-related offences, including violence, drink driving and domestic abuse.
"These were the three main strands of crime we wanted to concentrate on during Euro 2012 and our approach seems to have worked and was well received.
"The response to the Twitter initiative was also overwhelmingly supportive. We use social media all the time now to engage with our communities and while we can't always run specific Twitter events like we did on Sunday, it's clear there is a call for it as people are really interested in hearing more about our work.
"It's a new approach and while not everyone is keen on the use of social media, as a way of enhancing our contact with the public it's bringing great results, so we will continue to develop it further."
Eleven officers, including husband and wife PCs Richard and Karen Abbott, worked on Operation Scorpion on Sunday, patrolling areas of Gloucester and Cheltenham where trouble was expected, while traffic officers kept an eye on other areas around Tewkesbury and the Forest of Dean, and offered back-up.
Twitter user Suzy Hillier tweeted: "Bravo @Glos_Police #opscorpion great initiative!"
And Andrew Lansley said: "@Glos_Police #opscorpion One of the most innovative, informing, engaging & downright entertaining uses of social media I've seen yet #genius."
Supt Priddy said more than 450 licensed premises were visited in the run up to European 2012.
"Supporters attending licensed premises to view matches have been very well behaved, resulting in very few arrests for football and alcohol related violence and disorder," he said.
"We believe that a major contributory factor to this is the partnership work between licensees before and during the tournament, which has seen us make over 450 visits to licensed premises were we have liaised with staff and supporters.
"Officers have been targeting drink drivers, carrying out more than 120 tests during the tournament with mroe than 30 arrests."