Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police tweet in U.K. to show activity level

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LONDON -- From stolen cars to suspicious smells, one of Britain's biggest police forces is tweeting every incident it deals with over a 24 hour-period to prove a point.

The online Twitter campaign aims to show the pressures police are under as British officials prepare for deep budget cuts.

"The reality of police work is that although crime is a big part of what we do, we do much else besides," Chief Constable Peter Fahy of Manchester said in a message posted to YouTube. "We're very much the agency of last resort, and a big part of our workload is related to wider social problems of alcohol, drugs, mental health and people having problems with their relationships."

The project, which began at 5:00 a.m. Thursday, has already racked up more than 1,300 different incidents. Among the first tweets: An alert about a stolen vehicle thought to be headed for Manchester, the arrest of an aggressive shoplifter, and a report that "a man appears asleep at bus stop."

Greater Manchester Police is one of the country's largest police forces, responsible for a (1,300-square-kilometre) area centred on Manchester, which competes with Birmingham for the title of England's second city.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 15, 2010 A22

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Updated on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 2:23 PM CDT: Adds sidebar with links

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