Whilst what has been going on in Birmingham and the West Midlands is bad enough, unfounded rumours have in some cases been making it sound even worse and can be very frightening. So how can you check out what is really happening? (Apart from seeing if it’s on the News)
If you are a Twitter user, then one way is to follow the police themselves, who have been doing what they can to keep people informed and quash unfounded rumours. Just a few useful sources are:
@WMPolice and @brumpolice (there are also many more local police tweeters, there is likely to be someone near an area you are interested in)
@WMP_Helicopter (I’ve mentioned them before)
@ColmoreBID – the business district
@bhamresilience – Birmingham Resilience Group prepares for and responds to emergencies in Birmingham – Council, NHS, Police and Fire working together.
Please comment if you can recommend others.
In addition there are lots of sensible people who post interesting information, if you are a regular user you get to learn who you trust over time. Otherwise look for people who have seen something for themselves, and preferably photographed it, not those who have heard something might be happening. I quite liked the Guardian’s advice about responsible use of Twitter:
Not a twitter user?
The Police are also releasing news on the web, as are the Resilience team.
the Resilience team also offer you free sign up to the Birmingham Community Alert – this is a full time service, not just for the current disturbances. You can register up to 3 post codes of areas you are concerned about, and ask to receive text messages, voicemails, or emails about emergencies that affect any of them. I personally have found this useful – to avoid major road closures for example – as well as knowing I should be informed if any serious major incidents are happening locally.
Belated addition following comment from Simon Gray:
@bccdisruption on Twitter and http://disruption.birmingham.gov.uk/ for information about any disruption to Birmingham City Council services, and links to other services.