PC Erdal Yildiran uses social media to keep Turkish communities in the know and a new app helps students report hate crime
By Christina Davis
Meet Erdal Yildiran: he is a Metropolitan Police schools officer based in Tottenham and is using social media to connect the Met to the Turkish population in Haringey by translating tweets from the borough’s @MPSHaringey feed directly into Turkish.
I feel it is my duty to help the Turkish community
Yildiran, a police officer since 2001 who has lived in the UK since 1980, was initially asked by outgoing MPS Haringey Borough Commander Victor Olisa whether he would consider taking on the responsibility for communicating with the large Turkish community in Haringey. He now tweets regularly during his working day on the general @MPSTürkçe feed to link directly with 630+ Turkish-speaking followers.
He says: “I feel it is my duty to help the Turkish community, to let them know what is happening, so they know what to do in an emergency”.
Officer Yildiran says he realises Twitter might be considered a young person’s way of communicating but he hopes that starting to promote the Twitter account to Turkish school children, initially at Dukes Aldridge Academy, where he is based, may lead to tech-savvy youngsters informing their older, non-English speaking relatives about his tweets.
According to Yildiran, feedback from Twitter users is usually very positive – there are even many followers of the feed resident in Turkey who often congratulate him and the Metropolitan Police on what they are doing for community engagement in the area.
“Choosing the right tweets to translate is a crucial part of what I do,” says Yildiran.
“I mainly translate crime prevention tips, warnings against carrying knives, news of local arrests, public safety warnings, local road closures/incidents, domestic violence help numbers and missing people appeals.”
He added: “…humorous tweets need to be chosen with care! What English people and Turkish people nd funny might not be the same.”
Chief Inspector Veronica Morrell of Haringey Police said: “It is really important for us to be able to share information and stories directly with communities… I am hopeful that we will be able to build on Erdal’s good work by using Twitter to share with our communities in other languages too in the near future.”
New app to tackle hate crime
Officers from Haringey Police have introduced a brand new technology tool in the fight against hate crime into schools and beyond in Tottenham and Wood Green as part of a drive organised with partner Haringey Council during National Hate Crime Awareness Week (14-21 October).
Working in partnership with Stand Up! (an organisation that aims to empower school children to tackle discrimination), o cers took part in workshops where they explained to students what constitutes a hate crime and how to report it via a new app ‘Self Evident’.
Detective Sergeant Matthew Lever from Haringey’s Community Safety Unit hopes the app will, “not only raise awareness but also encourage people to report cases to the police, knowing that each case will be listened to.”
The app is free to download and can be used to report any incidents, to gather evidence via photos of what has occurred at the time and also to record a witness statement in the complainant’s own words which can be sent directly to the police or support agencies.
Detective Sergeant Lever said: “This new app gives us direct contact with the complainant… visual evidence is very impactful in court and can now be sent in by anyone with a smart phone”.
Haringey Officers, along with British Transport Police, will be distributing information cards about the app at transport hubs and tube stations and areas of high public footfall such as Wood Green and Seven Sisters stations. Haringey Council will be re-enforcing the message to report hate crime with billboards encouraging people to do so.
Detective Inspector Fareed Mirza, who heads up the Community Safety Unit at Haringey, said: “This is a battle the police can’t win by themselves. It will take us all to work together to bring perpetrators to justice and to inspire hope in victims”.