Closure of Leigh-on-Sea Police Station?

closure of leigh on sea police stationFollowing on from my post about the celebration for its centenary, it is with some dismay that I advise you of the closure of Leigh-on-Sea Police Station.

A year or so ago, I nearly got run over by a bad tempered and impatient driver who didn’t understand that I cannot move off the crossing if there are children approaching it. I cannot guarantee that moving children will respond to my commands to stop and not run out into the road in front of the traffic at the same time as I am trying to exit the crossing.

It’s a judgement call as to how close those children are to the crossing and whether I can make it onto the pavement to restrain them faster than they can cover the distance to the entry to the crossing. There’s also a certain amount of on-site knowledge about the way those children behave around the crossing. I have some idea of which children are runners and which are more likely to wait to hold onto a parental hand… but kids are unpredictable so I have to allow a certain amount of room for error.

This means that sometimes drivers have to be held stationary for a bit longer.

So, rather than waiting an additional 20 seconds, he just accelerated through the zebra crossing and away down the road leaving me shaken, still standing in the middle of the road.

Reporting the incident at Leigh Police Station, the officers were very concerned. They take it very seriously because (my understanding is) that it is an offence to drive through the crossing whilst people are in the road… apart from being downright dangerous to the safety of parents and children trying to get to school.

There was a similar incident yesterday and, again, one of the parents took his number. So, armed with my evidence, I set off to the Police Station at the end of Pall Mall to report the incident.

Arriving outside the building, I saw the notice on the door but didn’t really register it until I tried to pull the door open.

The police station was well and truly shut. And the notice advised that this was permanent. There would be no front office service from now on and we were advised to use the yellow telephone on the wall nearby to contact Rayleigh or Southend. If it was an emergency, we could also call 999 or the new 101 non-emergency phone line.

Mentioning this news to other residents of the town, it became clear that not many people were aware of what had happened and most were shocked and angry that Leigh-on-Sea no longer has an active police station.

Researching further, I found this letter from Leigh Town Council to the Chief Constable of Essex dated 2 November 2011.

I have been asked by members of the Town Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee to write to you to express our serious concerns about the future of the Leigh-on-Sea Police Station.

Having first heard that the front desk may be closing, we now understand that the police station itself is being considered for closure.

We believe that the presence of an operating police station in the centre of our town is essential for the well-being and security of our residents, particularly of our many elderly residents; many residents have approached their local councillors and come into our offices to express this view.

The station and the officers who man it have become an integral part of our community and a special relationship, mutually beneficial to all concerned, has built up over the years. Local people are much more likely to raise issues with, and pass information on to officers with whom they are familiar, especially if to do so does not also require a journey to the police station along Victoria Avenue in Southend.

Being based in the heart of our community, we are assured that the presence of our local station provides for botha prompt and effective response to incidents arising in our area. Located as Leigh is on the western bondary of the Borough of Southend, we fear that the closure of our police station will have a detrimental impact on this responsiveness, especially at nighttime.

We ask you therefore to take into consideration our concerns when deciding the future of Leigh Police Station.

I think it is a very sad state of affairs that Leigh-on-Sea no longer allows its residents to communicate directly with their own police force but the idea that we no longer even have a Police Station in such a busy town with a very active nightlife seems completely incomprehensible.

And I can only assume that the whole establishment has now gone since I saw no police cars in the spaces outside – as would normally have been the case.

Does anyone know if this is actually now the case?

UPDATE: I am told that the police station is in use night and day but is just not open to the public.

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How Does Twitter Work For Business

how does twitter work for businessRules to Remember
1. Never sell
2. Follow the rules of the platform
3. Say who you are
4. Be consistent in timing and content – when you post and what

Don’t forget, there are two types of social media – the type that makes you acquaintances and the type that makes you money. When you’re trying to work out how to make Twitter work for business, you have to bear that in mind.

How Does Twitter Work For Business

I wrote about how Twitter works and the SEO implications of Twitter but how does Twitter work for business on a daily basis?

So most casual Tweeters have less than 100 contacts, which means that business tweeters need to have reached many more. Having said that, they still have to be able to engage with those contacts so it’s no good getting an autobot to follow thousands of people that you can’t then keep track of – no matter how targeted they are.

And whilst most casual Tweeters will tweet sporadically, business owners need to be active regularly, without being annoying – which is why it’s so important not to just shout at your potential audience with continual status updates that consist purely of links to content. Twitcleaner picks out those who only ever send links to you and allows you to purge your list.

The best tools for managing your social media accounts – especially if you have more than one twitter account – are dashboards like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Seesmic because they allow you to have multiple columns to track keywords and lists as well as your various profiles.

Check that you’re in the right Twitter account, especially if you’re using a dashboard that allows mutliples.

1. Post Updates – 140 characters only. Use the link shrinker to give yourself more. As with Facebook, make sure that your update is suitable to your audience. A link to your latest blog post or an interesting piece of content that you’ve seen, a motivational quote or fact related to your market. Give people a reason to follow you by creating valuable and informative content that people find entertaining.

1 minute

2. Who’s Following? You may have it set up so that notifications about new followers appear in your email. You don’t have to follow everyone back. If they don’t look as if they will be appropriate for your market, then you don’t have to. Check to see if they’re located in your area – if you’re working the local market. Or if they would be interested in your product or service. Or if they might provide valuable content that you can retweet.

2 minutes

3. Check Your Messages. Respond to DMs – these are not visible to anyone else and are not indexed by Google. Remember, many experienced Tweeters will automatically send a DM to those who follow them. Invariably, these will invite you to visit a landing page offering you a free or paid product that they are selling and are aimed at those who are new to Twitter and easily influenced into handing over their email in return for a report. Most UK tweeters will say that they don’t and won’t just give away their email for a piece of paper but many experts say that this is a very effective method of growing your list. If you would like to send an auto DM, Social Oomph has a free account that offers this.

Public messaging uses the @ prefix. If you want to be sure that a particular person will see a tweet, you include the @TheirTwitterName in your 140 characters. It is always polite to respond to anyone who sends you a Tweet including your @TwitterName.

2 minutes

4. Keywords and Hashtags. #keyword can be used as part of the 140 characters to alert people to what a tweet is about. Twitter etiquette suggests that these should always be the last item in any tweet and that it is not polite to include it in the body of the tweet – even if it does save characters. You can track the keywords and hashtags in your niche using Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Seesmic. Set up a column that will keep you in touch with the buzz around those words and join the conversation where you can.

2 minutes

5. Read Your Feed. This is where it is possible to get sucked in so you need to be ruthless. Check out what people are talking about and engage – even if it’s not always about your niche. It’s ok to connect on multiple levels but you need to try to stay on topic if possible.

2 minutes

6. Retweet. If you see information that you enjoy and you feel would be valuable to others in your niche, retweet. It will help to build your own reputation as well as gaining favour with those whose content you have enjoyed. If anyone retweets you, make sure to thank them.

2 minutes

7. Schedule Updates. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to schedule posts for later in the day. Buffer is also a good tool for this. Some experts advise posting the same content at up to four different times per day in order to get your content seen. One post every week is going to be lost in the morass as your Twitter feed flies past. Some people can post every ten minutes, which can become irritating. But you do notice them. This is where you can send not just your own content but a selection of retweeted content from others. Tweriod will tell you when your following is most often online so that you can schedule your tweets at the optimum times.

2 minutes

8. Grow Your Reach. There are lots of tools that allow you to discover other tweeters who are interested in your niche. The Twitter Suggested Users list can give you some good contacts, as well as Twitter.com/search, Wefollow.com has over one million users that have categorised themselves with tags and Twittercounter.com allows you to search twitter descriptions for your keywords.
Topsy.com gives you results for your keywords

2 minutes

Having said all that, you should really be asking yourself what you want to achieve through this activity. Here’s a great infographic which will help you to understand whether you should be using Twitter for your business.

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Merging Two Facebook Pages Together

My friend Shawn of Interactabel Social Media had a client who wanted to merge two Facebook Business Pages together but, after our rather arduous experiences of changing a Personal Profile to a Business Page, we were not very enthusiastic about even attempting the job – especially when a Google search revealed that many commentators specifically said it was impossible.

Remember the subtle difference there – you Merge two Pages together but you Migrate a Personal Profile into a Business Page.

However, there was one report which shed some light on its feasibility – The Social Animal suggested that we authenticate the page first – linking it in Facebook’s eyes with the personal profile of an admin – and then attempt the merge.

And then this very easy solution from Just Ask Kim. However, as at January 2012, the whole function is very unstable, so you might want to think twice about attempting this for the moment.

So, why do people even want to perform the merge of two pages?

1. It could be to merge an existing Business Page with a Facebook Places Page to take advantage of the check in activity.

2. Associates from the same company have set up two identical Facebook pages for the same product and the two need to be merged in order to stop confusing likers.

3. The Vanity URL has been mis-spelled and they want to put it right but Facebook rules preclude this. Therefore, the only thing they can do is to create a new page and try to merge the new with the old.

The transfer of fans from one business page to another is a tricky issue because it could so easily be open to misuse. As a result, Facebook have some very strict rules in place.

You have to be the admin of both pages.

If you are merging a Place and a Page, they have to have the same address.

You can only merge the less liked Page into the more liked Page. This means that, when you create your new Page, you have to grow it to more fans than the old one in order to effect the merge. The less liked page will then be removed from Facebook so an unmerge will not be possible.

merge-facebook-business-page-with-places-page

If you are the admin of both pages, edit the page and select Resources from the left hand sidebar. If you fulfil all the criteria, you will be offered the Merge duplicate Pages option and given a list of pages that qualify.

Of course, with the mis-spelled URL, you can always attempt to contact the elusive FB support for Trademark issues and they *might* correct it for you.

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SOPA – Anti Piracy Bill

Great infographic from The Globe and Mail about the new SOPA Anti Piracy Bill and what it actually means in plain English. Click on the image to see the enlarged version.

When I was trying to show someone how to upgrade a site to the latest version of WordPress today, I went to make a backup of the database as is always recommended. But the screen went black and told me that selected sites had gone black today in support of the campaign to stop the Anti Piracy Bill (also known as SOPA) in the US. The problem was that the black screen left us with the distinct impression that the site I was working on had gone black. In actual fact, our site was fine, it was the ability to use the plugin for backing up which had been withdrawn that day – along with countless others from technical sites to blogs.

It was a misleading and rather alarming message for those who were not aware of the campaign or, indeed, today’s action. In fact we were not sure at first as to whether the site had been hacked and, whilst I am in favour of the campaign itself, I’m not sure that this type of activity will help to promote support of their efforts. The problem with all such types of ‘indstrial’ action is that it draws attention to the cause but not always in a positive way.

However, it is all the more relevant at a time when the news here has been full of British student, Richard O’Dwyer, who is fighting an extradition case which will take him to the US to face charges for providing links to pirated films and US television shows.

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Parents and Kids on Facebook Infographic

facebook parents and kids infographicFascinating infographic on Parents and Kids on Facebook courtesy of Mashable via Lab42

If you want to make it larger, hold down yuor CTRL key and press the key with the +/= on it. To make things smaller again, press CTRL and the key with _/-. Both of these are located on the right of the top row of your main keyboard.

Both my teenage kids are on Facebook, one owns me as her mother, the other does not. Most of the time, I feel honoured that neither has blocked my access so that I can see all their status updates – at others I wish they had so I wouldn’t worry so much. You should always bear this in mind if you are friends with your children. It is very easy for them to restrict exactly what you see.

As a Social Media Manager, it is quite good that I can still show them a thing or two about how it works! For once, I don’t get to hear them say ‘Oh, Muuuuuum!’

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on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at 8:09 am

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