Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Policing cyber-neighbourhoods: Tension monitoring and social media networks

Williams, Matthew Leighton ORCID:, Edwards, Adam Michael ORCID:, Housley, William ORCID:, Burnap, Peter ORCID:, Rana, Omer Farooq ORCID:, Avis, Nicholas John, Morgan, Jeffrey and Sloan, Luke ORCID: 2013. Policing cyber-neighbourhoods: Tension monitoring and social media networks. Policing and Society 23 (4) , pp. 461-481. 10.1080/10439463.2013.780225

[thumbnail of Policing CyberNeighbourhoods (3).pdf]
PDF - Submitted Pre-Print Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


We propose that late modern policing practices, that rely on neighbourhood intelligence, the monitoring of tensions, surveillance and policing by accommo- dation, need to be augmented in light of emerging ‘cyber-neighbourhoods’, namely social media networks. The 2011 riots in England were the first to evidence the widespread use of social media platforms to organise and respond to disorder. The police were ill-equipped to make use of the intelligence emerging from these non-terrestrial networks and were found to be at a disadvantage to the more tech-savvy rioters and the general public. In this paper, we outline the development of the ‘tension engine’ component of the Cardiff Online Social Media ObServatroy (COSMOS). This engine affords users with the ability to monitor social media data streams for signs of high tension which can be analysed in order to identify deviations from the ‘norm’ (levels of cohesion/low tension). This analysis can be overlaid onto a palimpsest of curated data, such as official statistics about neighbourhood crime, deprivation and demography, to provide a multidimensional picture of the ‘terrestrial’ and ‘cyber’ streets. As a consequence, this ‘neighbourhood informatics’ enables a means of questioning official constructions of civil unrest through reference to the user-generated accounts of social media and their relationship to other, curated, social and economic data.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (CCLJ)
Computer Science & Informatics
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: social media, tension monitoring, public order, riot, Cardiff Online Social Media ObServatory
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1043-9463
Funders: ESRC
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2023 15:16

Citation Data

Cited 60 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics