You are here

  1. Home
  2. Research
  3. Theme 1: Investigation, community and vulnerability
  4. 1.01 Policing practice, citizen enquiry and solving crime with social media

1.01 Policing practice, citizen enquiry and solving crime with social media

Academic team: Dr Hayley Ness, Prof Graham Pike, Dr Catriona Havard
Policing partners: Greater Manchester Police and Dorset Police
Status: Complete


One largely unexplored aspect of social networking is its role in citizen investigation of crime. A victim or witness may appear at a police station with the name, photograph and location of a suspect, which they have discovered using social networking sites. For example, even without the actual content of any messages posted, Facebook contains a number of features that are very useful to a potential citizen detective.

This project aimed to discover and map the types of citizen-led enquiry that online social networking is being utilised for, what impact this is having on police investigation, what changes to guidelines may be needed and how these may be integrated into the practices of policing.

Early work lead to the project being developed as Centre project 1.06 Improving investigations through utilising technology, community and psychology.


Title Outputs type Lead academic Year
Social media and citizen enquiry Conference paper Ness, H 2016



Launch of CPRL Collaborative to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and research across the OU with CPRL members

CPRL has launched a new format of research seminars under the brand ‘CPRL Collaborative’ that are open to academics and our police force members. 

23rd November 2023
See all

Upcoming Events

Dec 7

Membership Group Meeting

Thursday, December 7, 2023 - 10:30 to 12:30

Jan 15

Research Priority workshop

Monday, January 15, 2024 - 11:00 to 13:00

The Open University, Milton Keynes

See All