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Learning from social media – CPD in focus day three

Published on 24 November 2021
Social media is a powerful learning tool and today we explore the possibilities and potential drawbacks
4 mins read
Hand on walkie talkie

For many of us, social media has become part of our daily routine. Not only are we using social media to connect and reconnect with our friends and family, but it also provides many spaces that encourage us to learn from each other.

We use social media to help us find new information, skills and ways of doing of things – such as watching a YouTube video to learn how to wire a plug, finding colour schemes on Pinterest, or reading a tweet about the latest research in effective community engagement.

Detective Inspector Victoria Cubby talks about how a weekly blog can contribute to learning outside of the classroom:


Jade, an officer from Leicestershire, shares her experiences of learning from social media:

I’m in the canteen grabbing a coffee having just finished my writing for the night. My colleague and I are doing our usual bleary-eyed scroll through Twitter and come across a video of two officers trying to restrain a male. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that both officers are trying to restrain the male in the same way – each pulling an arm, making their crewmate’s job more difficult.

The male is stood with his legs wide apart and this is just making it impossible to affect the arrest and get him on the floor so he can be handcuffed safely. We can see that if one of the two officers had just ‘gone low’ and grabbed the guy’s legs, we would be watching him be handcuffed by now.

Jump to two weeks later and I’m on my way to a ‘code zero’ – an officer has pushed their panic button. Two officers are trying to arrest a female who is spitting, kicking, punching and everything else in between. As I approached, I could see the same thing had happened – everyone is trying to grab an arm or her upper body, there’s hardly any room for me to go and try and help. So I stand back and watch on, ready to lend a hand.

It’s then that I heard an officer shout “Do not kick me!” and I have my eureka moment. I get a flashback to “just go low” and, as if by magic, I can now see a gap between all the officers' legs and I see my target. I adopt my best rugby pose and wade in and grab the female by the legs and help take her down to the floor safely, where she is handcuffed.

I knew the tactics from training but I gained a lot from my informal CPD of watching police videos over a cuppa with a mate. I’ve vowed to carry on watching Twitter videos but also to watch my own body-worn video footage with my team. I hope we can all learn something from each other.

How to find reliable sources of information

There is so much that can be found on social media to support your learning and development. For example, you can follow the National Police Library, the College of Policing and other organisations on Twitter, or watch officers like Owen Messenger on TikTok and YouTube.

However, not everything on social media that claims to support learning is as reliable as it could be.

When reviewing sources on social media, you can use the CRAAP test to check if the information is reliable.

  1. Currency – when was this published, is it current and up to date?
  2. Relevance – who is this aimed at, who is the intended readership?
  3. Authority – who is the author or the source of this resource?
  4. Accuracy – is this resource supported by clear evidence?
  5. Purpose – what’s the aim and purpose of this information?

It's important to be mindful of information shared on social media and to consider its reliability before sharing it further yourself.

Live online event – learning from social media

  • Wednesday 24 November, midday to 1pm 
  • Hosted by Inspector Caroline Hay and Sergeant Owen Messenger

In this webinar, we will hear from two police officers with very different social media experiences.

Find more information about this event and other webinars running over the week.

If you’re interested in this live webinar, then please sign-up before 10.30am on the day of the event.

A recording of this webinar will be available after the session (you will need to sign up to receive the recording).

Get involved and take part

Join the CPD Focus Knowledge Hub group (you will need to log in to this) to access a range of learning resources and book onto events that forces across the UK are running as part of CPD in focus 2021.

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