Headlines: April 22nd, 2008

Greater Manchester Police are working with Facebook, the social networking site, to allow users to receive a news feed, as well as links to a crime-reporting form, Police Web sites and videos. This ground breaking development opens the way for other public sector bodies to tap in to the power of social networking sites.

Users are able to submit intelligence about crimes and they are kept up to date with news stories. After installing it on their profile, users get a news feed alongside links to a crime-reporting form, force website and YouTube videos. Greater Manchester Police said it has been developed to raise awareness of local incidents and appeal for information. The force is the first in the country to take advantage of the site.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Taylor said: “Greater Manchester Police is proud to be the first force in the country to use this new technologyand it demonstrates our commitment to exploring all avenues available to us to help fight and detect crime.” Facebook has 59 million users, seven million of which live in the UK.

An Ofcom study revealed a picture of Britain as a nation of consummate social network surfers. Almost half of all under-18s online said they were using social networks regularly, equivalent to some 3.8 million children around the country. More than a fifth of adults were also signed up with such services, primarily Facebook, with the highest proportion of activity among 16 to 35-year-olds. This makes the UK second only to Canada, where more than half of adults use such sites.