Saturday, 19 December 2015

About this site

A local Essex Community - Wild Fallow Deer
On 6 Oct 2015, a post was made called Essex Police is Changing. A video was added on 8 Oct called Today's Demands Tomorrow's Challenges.

The Chief Constable said in the video, I want to hear what you think about the changes we need to make.

It got me thinking as new technology and tools, engaging with the public online and accessibility to communities were all mentioned.

On 9 Oct, I email my thoughts to DCC Matthew Horne. They included offering my skills and ideas based on the past five years assisting the UK Police.

The  main suggestion I had was to form a Community Digital Team made up of people who are comfortable working online and know how to publish in realtime. A network if you will - where no one person is in charge, a kind of collective.

Alongside other areas of study like ukpolicingweek for #NorfolkLive and mpshaveringlive, I thought it would be a good idea to make a public beta test and make something everyone could see and use. That's where the idea Essex Police Live came from.

On thinking more, I have five distinct areas: Essex, Police, Live, Digital and Community. Each area is talked about in a separate post.

Throughout this site and on Twitter I have made this statement, *Polite Notice* @epldc is an independent community project based on open sourced public Information and so carries my name @mikedownesz.

This means these ideas are everyone's ideas, in public, and created in public for everyone to see based on the same community spirit that made Wikipedia super successful. 

[ You may like to know how it started as Nupedia where it had an elaborate system of peer review and required highly qualified contributors, but the writing of articles was slow (ref). After the name changed to Wikipedia and it went public, it grew at an incredible rate based on the massively multiplayer characteristic (ref2). 

wikiHistory for the Essex Police page
For Breaking News, Wikipedia will beat any legacy news organisation. For example, take a look atThe Paris Attacks 2015. The page was created 13 Nov 2015, there have been 4,643 edits from 772 different users and the page has been viewed 716,747 times in the last 30 days.
the page for

Similarly, the Essex Police page at wiki was created 10 years ago 20 Dec 2005. It's had 227 edits from 108 different users.

From any wiki page, you can access page stats, in this case, 918 views in last 30 days. On the 8/9 Dec there was a small spike (that was news about police station closures and a shooting in Waltham Abbey).

For another example, see July 2012 where the page traffic increased from average 38 to 198 views a day. Google it and we see the tragic story of PC Ian Dibell.

The beauty of wikipedia, it's adfree and pretty much accurate. and yes there are many people who just stereotype and belittle wikipedia - this is done with quite lazy hearsay. As a ps it takes a cretain type of person to edit at wikipedia, I take my hat off to those people who watch 1,000s of pages and scrutinise and undo even the addition of a comma. ]

wikipedia Essex Police stats last 30 days
For a Police example see,, where at the base of the page,  All content is available under theOpen Government License v2.0 unless otherwise stated. You are encouraged to use and re-use the Information that is available under this licence freely and flexibly, with only a few conditions.

You are free to:
  • copy, publish, distribute and transmit the Information;
  • adapt the Information;
  • exploit the Information commercially and non-commercially for example, by combining it with other Information, or by including it in your own product or application.
  • You must, where you do any of the above: acknowledge the source of the Information by including any attribution statement specified by the Information Provider(s) and, where possible, provide a link to this licence;
In this example, what do we know about Essex Police that's public? They have a website, a collection of Social Media feeds (like twitter, facebook, youtube, instagram etc). They issue press releases, in the hope legacy media will report a story (I will cover, The State of News in Essex in s separate post and link that to a new model called Solutions Journalism).

So why me, why Mike Downes? I was born in Chelmsford, Essex. I played football in the parks, fished the rivers remember what Marconi and Hoffmans actually looked like, smelt like and watched in curiosity as 100s of identical factory worker's black bicycles passed my house twice a day. Of course that's over now.

I moved away to the Midlands, got a teaching degree at the University of Warwick and taught in the Primary School Classroom for seventeen years. My first job with 36 seven year olds was September 1998 - the same month Google was founded.

As the Internet grew up, I learned and taught it to the students. In 2010, I outgrew the classroom and gradually moved online. I started a local blog, it's still running today. I reported some news, fed stories to the local BBC - and accidentally started supporting West Midlands Police with Social Media. 

The BBC College of Journalism once interviewed me with lead questions being, How come you can work faster and cleaner than we can? .. I was like, Is that what  you are saying? .. They were like, Oh yeah ..

When Google+ opened up in June 2011, I reached a whole new audience and gained many new friends using Google Hangouts (a 10 person video calling tool). In 2010, I was live at youtube in five of the six London 2012 Hangouts On Air. I was fortunate enough to ask Usain Bolt, Peter Wilson and Mel C a few questions.

I streamed the British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher (for Syria Deeply, 16 Nov 12), France 24 and worked with TV News Stations in the US (helping a few people get win a Emmy). Google have reached out to me many times, I'm a Hangouts Ambassador and Trusted Tester, a YouTube Creator, Maps Local Guide and a few other things I'm not allowed to mention.

About all, I class myself as a Real World Teacher - I make Videos to Help People Learn, I'm also Passionately Curious. I'm an Altruist.

In 2016, anyone with a simple smart phone, tablet or a laptop with free wifi can use free online tools to create something truly special. All they need to have is an open mind and the will to try. Anyone can do this.

Getting back to Essex, UK, the Policing and the People - when things are done as a collective, as a collaboration some real magic happens. You get 1 + 1 and it always equals more that 2. 

That little extra comes form Inspiration, Spirit and the quiet nod of Understanding, often met with a knowing Smile - Not Only did we Do It, but we Did It Together..

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Essex Police