The Leader has been on the case trying to uncover the secret Stig-like identity of Constable Bloggs - the new persona assumed by the blogger on Banbridge PSNI’s Facebook page.
But although the identity of the original Stig was finally uncovered, Constable Bloggs is proving to be a much more difficult case to crack. He (or maybe she) did,, however agree to tell us a little bit about the new strategy.
Constable Bloggs said: “I initially got this idea from another Neighbourhood Team who started a couple of weeks ahead of us. I only recently started looking after the Facebook site and thought it was very corporate.
“Even though it is important to get our messages out regarding crime and the prevention of it, I thought the Facebook site lacked the more personal touch. Sometimes the public only see police driving around in our flash cars (well if we get a new one its flash and no, not the Skoda Roomster which has been given a number of names!) but what they don’t see is everything that goes on in the background and the reason why the car is driving around in the first place.”
We’d guessed that the name Constable Bloggs came from the fact he was writing a blog and although we felt his first name might therefore be Joe, he wasn’t for letting us know: “like the Stig, my first name will remain a secret”.
Talking about the way the blog gives us a great insight into policing activities, Constable Bloggs said: “My aim for the blog is to show the public that ‘yes, we are human’ and also to give them a better understanding of what we do and let them know that we are open and approachable. Also, the majority of the public have very little contact with police and don’t know what we do, so Facebook is the ideal way to give them a flavour of what happens on a day to day basis.
“The team has since noticed a few more people saying hello as they pass. We are delighted with a smile, a nod or a hello.”
The blog currently has over 2,674 likes and Constable Bloggs said: “I’m very pleased with the feedback that we have received so far and it’s also nice do better than our colleagues in neighbouring areas. We have a bit of friendly competition going on”.
A case of animal cruelty in the Banbridge area drew a huge response on the Facebook page and Constable Bloggs said: “I was overwhelmed with the response to the Bessie case. People were contacting us not only from the North and South of Ireland but also from parts of Europe and as far as I know Canada also”.
An animal lover himself, Constable Bloggs revealed: “I am both a cat and dog person, but in my house the cats run the show”.
Often Constable Bloggs struggles to write up the blog amidst the pressures of police work.
He said: “We are extremely busy at times. There are days when I come into the office hoping to work to my planned schedule but within minutes we can find ourselves inundated with different or additional duties, either in the office or out on the ground. It normally happens when I have planned to sit down and update the blog.
“As far as enjoying it goes - yes I do. Like all organisations people have their doubts about what to say and we have had some feedback that the blog can be too long and boring, however, this normally comes from people who have knowledge of police work and already know the information that I blog about. For me the blog isn’t aimed at police but at the public and so far the response has been great.”
The Leader felt that Constable Bloggs must be female as there were a few mentions of housework, and let’s face it most men don’t notice what needs done around the house.