A PORTSMOUTH sergeant is bidding to be a top cop tweeter after being nominated for an international award.
Sergeant Rob Sutton, from the city’s St Thomas Safer Neighbourhoods Team, is among five officers from the UK and Canada in line for the leadership award in the ConnectedCOPS awards.
The new programme is designed to reward ways in which the law is enforced using social media.
Sgt Sutton said: ‘I’m proud to be recognised and nominated as part of the UK contingent for these international awards.
‘It’s particularly pleasing to be praised among your professional peers in policing across the world.
‘We’ve really caught and kept people’s attention and imagination with our style.
‘A more light-hearted approach with a touch of humour is something that the public was not expecting from the police.
‘The public speak with you on Twitter as a real person, which has broken down barriers to reach more of the community we serve in Portsmouth.’
Sgt Sutton was the first Hampshire police officer to set up a Twitter account while working as sergeant on Portsmouth City Centre Unit.
Now the force has dozens of accounts and thousands of followers.
The city centre unit even held a competition to name its police van – which is now called Ninah and even goes on school visits – in a bid to break down barriers between police and the public.
Sgt Sutton added: ‘The creation of the character Ninah is a huge hit.
‘Giving personality to a police van prompts persistent interest in where she’s going and what she’s doing.
‘Officers have been on more school visits than ever before with Ninah in the past year, thanks to invitations from our fans and nearly five thousand followers.
‘Our Daily Ninah updates are now read in 23 countries on Twitter, and in this Olympic year, I hope that she can go for gold and make all British bobbies proud at the top of the Tweeting table.’
Winners will be announced at a conference in Richmond, Virginia, USA, in September.