Staffordshire Police take Twitter by storm with Euro 2012 England v Italy tweets
WITH an unusual mix of match commentary, witty insights and public safety announcements, Staffordshire Police became a minor Twitter sensation on Sunday night.
The force sent out more than twenty ‘tweets’ through its account on the social network site during England’s Euro 2012 quarter final match against Italy, with references to Italian diving, the dangers of drink driving and of course the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
The tweets proved hugely popular among the social network’s users, many of whom took to the site to express their appreciation.
The most popular tweet, which was re-tweeted more than 200 times in one half hour period, referenced England defender and former captain John Terry.
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It read: "Great tackle by Terry, we'll be tackling repeat offenders."
Terry, who is due to appear in court on July 9 after pleading not guilty to a charge of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match, had just stopped an effort by Italian striker Mario Balotelli midway through the first half.
Other tweets included one that read: "Balotelli should be in the Olympics - Italian diving team," while another read “change of tactics for England - seems to be working. Our tactics are to stop violence!"
The series of crime based puns served to lighten the tense mood of the match, which ended in England losing 4-2 on penalties after 120 goalless minutes.
Staffordshire Police, though, insist the tweets were also part of a serious campaign, aimed at highlighting the impact of alcohol during large scale sporting events.
Chief Inspector Dave Bird said: “Social media is a very effective way of getting our messages across to members of our community and this is something we have been developing over the past few years.
“It’s important that the tone and content of our messages on social media suits our audience and we know from our experience that by building our audience on these sites allows us to provide real time updates on incidents.
“Last night's twitter event involved a member of our corporate communications team as part of the force's approach to tackling alcohol related violence and domestic abuse during Euro 2012."
Among the twitter users to show their appreciation were Sam Fowler, who wrote “Great banter from @StaffsPolice with the crime based football puns” and Michelle Nesham, who wrote “loving the comments about the footy makes it more fun.”
After the disappointment of the penalty shoot-out the force also had some consoling words for Roy Hodgson’s men.
Their final tweet of the night read: "Bad luck England, thanks for following us hope you enjoyed the tweets. Have a safe night."