The international project "Solving Crime through Social Media" (SOMEP) was officially launched during the kick-off meeting in Kayseri (Turkey) on the 23 November 2013. The meeting was hosted by the project coordinator Erciyes University – Faculty for Communication. Further project partners were the Centre for Social Innovation (Austria), the Association for Media and Culture Studies (Turkey), the Kayseri Provincial Police Headquarters and the University of Applied Sciences of the State Police of Brandenburg (Germany). SOMEP was supported and co-financed by the "Leonardo da Vinci Programme" of the EU Commission.
The project was about the possibilities social media can provide to police forces in the context of prevention, information, communication, averting of dangers, crime prevention and intelligence gathering. Social media is becoming more and more important in all areas of life. The law enforcement agencies and police forces cannot just watch from the side lines or focus only on investigating internet and cybercrimes. Police forces instead should exploit the vast potentials social media could provide for their own interests.
Aiming at this goal, the project partners were working collaboratively on eight working packages which eventually resulted in the preparation of an eLearning module and a comprehensive data base which can be used for introducing social media to police officers of all ranks and positions, train them in the use of social media and show them the opportunities social media might have for policing purposes in their daily business but also regarding special operations and occasions.
In preparation for the eLearning module a scientific research was undertaken to find out if and for what purposes Social Media are used by German police organisations. The results were published in a Country Report. Furthermore a need analyses was conducted among German police officers to find out if and for what purposes they use Social Media in their professional life at what they expect for the future regarding utilization and training. The results were published in a Need Analysis Report. Those scientific documents as well as the results of the pilot implementation for the eLearning module can be found at the bottom of this website.
The main focus of the project was specifically directed at the enhancement of communication between the individual police officer or the police organisation and the individual citizen and the public. Police organisations should develop strategies for adapting social media into their portfolio. In the future, using social media for policing should become a normal operating resource for police forces across Europe. That is the reason why all project partners agreed on the following project motto which was created and presented by the representatives of the University of Applied Sciences of the State Police of Brandenburg:
“In the past, the challenge for a few experts among the police was to acquire the same technological skills as cybercriminals (hacker). Nowadays, the challenge in all fields of policing is to reach the same level in the use of social media as the public.”
The eLearning module and materials developed do not specifically focus on particular social media platforms and networks but on the broad variety and its potentials and benefits. Nevertheless, it has to be taken into consideration that different legal provisions in various countries, which could use the module and the related materials, might limit the usage of social media for policing purposes. Since SOMEP was also an innovation transfer project, relevant research results of the COMPOSITE project, in which the University of Applied Sciences of the State Police of Brandenburg is also involved, needed to be integrated into the project and influenced the outcome not insignificantly. The COMPOSITE results in some way set the direction for SOMEP.
The eLearning module and all related materials are provided and available in Turkish, German and English language. They are available free of charge for law enforcement agencies and police forces. The eLearning module can be used by following the links at the bottom of this page.
The end-users could also adapt this module according to their domestic legal framework and strategies. If there are parties interested in doing so please contact the project team.
The project lasted 18 months and was finished at the end of April 2015.
For further information please contact:
Mail: mario.rogus [at] hpolbb.de
Phone: +49 (0) 3301 850-2555
Mail: thomas.ruediger [at] hpolbb.de
Phone: +49 (0) 3301 850-2538
Lernanwendung / Elearning application:
Nutzung Sozialer Medien durch Polizeibeamte und -institutionen (HTML5)
The use of social media by police officers and institutions (Flash)
Sosyal medyaların polis memurları ve polis merkezleri tarafından kullanılması (Flash)
Projektberichte / Project reports:
- 1. SOMEP - Country report Germany
- 2. SOMEP - Need analysis Germany
- 3. SOMEP - Pilot implementation report Germany