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Durham constabulary is planning to use social media to enable people to follow what is happening in their immediate neighbourhood in real time.

It is developing a new website along with web technology firm C2 Software that will provide a channel for people to view its activities through Twitter feeds from police on the beat, a Facebook page, Flickr and YouTube pages as well as news reports. The first phase of the site will be launched in early 2012.

A mobile app is also being developed to provide access to the same information through smartphones and tablet computers.

The development follows a consultation with police officers and the public, using focus groups and online surveys.

Superintendent Bill Dutton of Durham constabulary said: "The new website will enable us to engage and work better with communities, to understand their priorities and views. We'll be able to feed back on the good work that the force is doing on a day by day basis, even in real time."

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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