The use of Facebook in creating police identity

Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Ness, Hayley and Harrison, Virginia (2018). The use of Facebook in creating police identity. In: 2018 Conference of the Society of Evidence Based Policing, 1-2 Mar 2018.


Despite the increase in social media use by the police since 2008 in the UK (Keane, 2017) little qualitative exploration has been conducted regarding how Facebook use works to position the identity of the police force within the communities they serve. This study explores the positioning and re-positioning of identity that is achieved by police forces through their official Facebook site. The research considers the way in which stories, which are co-created by multiple narrators (i.e. ‘networked narratives’ Page, Harper and Frobenius, 2013) achieve a particular identity for the police through social media. The research concludes that networked contributions from the community do powerful rhetorical identity work for the police, but that the police are not yet fully conversant with the challenges of working in online contexts.

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