London: British police has been urged to appoint a senior officer to take charge of gathering intelligence through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The think-tank Demos said a senior officer in every force, as well as a national intelligence-gathering hub, would help improve the response to major incidents such as the 2011 London riots.
It also said new regulations were needed to put “Twitter snooping” on a solid legal footing, the Telegraph reports.
According to the paper, the suggestions come amid concerns raised by the riots that forces were ill-equipped to deal with the intelligence available via social media, and did not fully take advantage of Facebook and Twitter to communicate with the public, such as by dispelling false rumours.
Demos said the RIPA regime for regulating surveillance by police and intelligence agencies should be clearly applied to social media postings, the paper said.
It would mean intrusive methods such as creating fake accounts or using members of social as the public as covert intelligence agents would require authorisation from senior officers, it added.