Web users are being given the chance to interact with Sussex Police and their activities through a live video stream today (October 28).
As part of Sussex Police People: Live, which is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK for a police force, video links from police cars, buildings and the streets of Sussex are being broadcast on the force's website for 24 hours from 6am. Some of the streams may be cut or muted throughout the day for legal reasons, but it is hoped the event, which marks the start of a year-long project, will help the force to forge closer links with the communities it serves.
Web users are being encouraged to join in webchats with police officers, tweets about what they see using the hashtag #SPPlive on micro-blogging site Twitter and even take part in an interactive walkabout of the forensics lab.
Furthermore, over the next year as part of the project 12 members of Sussex Police Force will be using smartphones to share their experiences as part of the force on the Sussex Police website via Tumblr.
The police forces say pictures, videos and words will be used in the posts that won't be edited or delayed and will offer "an eclectic mixture of observations, stories and feelings told in their own way". Those taking part will also be taking to their Twitter accounts as well to help share their experiences.
"We're in a period of extraordinary change for policing with important questions being asked nationally about the transparency and accountability of police forces. In the midst of this debate, it hasn't always been easy to show the public what policing is really like or give them an easy way to talk to us and get more involved," said Chief Constable Martin Richards.
Richards explained that Sussex Police People is the force's answer to this problem.
"It will provide a behind-the-scenes view of how we police Sussex and a window to the thoughts, feelings and experiences of our police officers and staff. We will be showing the public aspects of policing that they might not know about, and offer new ways for local people to share their views with us," he said.
"What's most important is how Sussex Police People will help us speak and listen to local people in the best ways possible, to help them better understand what we do and to make us as accessible as possible. Some of this can be achieved by innovative use of technology, but this will not be at the expense of other effective methods.
Last year, Greater Manchester Police became the first force in the country to post every incident reported to them on Twitter.