With rioting in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol reaching extreme proportions last night, Southampton residents were fearing the worst as rumours and speculation abounded on potential similar situations in the city centre.
The police were made aware of communications between youths in the early evening regarding rioting in Southampton, but reports of riots actually happening in the city were found to be false.
Compliments have been flooding into the Hampshire Constabulary, after their use of social media to correct the misinformation.
Councillor Royston Smith tweeted that the “Use of social media by Hampshire Police was excellent in reassuring the public and deterring would be looters.”
It wasn’t just those in authority that were grateful to the department, however. Teri Dyer, a Southampton resident, also tweeted “So proud to be from Southampton right now. @HantsPolice use of social networking last night to inform & calm communities was excellent!”
Resident Simon Dennis said “gr8 work guys. Makes me proud of my county. Keep up the great work we all appreciate ur constant efforts”.
The threat to Southampton was being passed around local youths through Blackberry Messenger, a free messaging app for the smart phone. One parent made the public aware of the type of message being sent by posting it on the Hampshire Police Facebook page.
However, the police force will not doubt have more concerns to deal with in the coming days as speculation mounts over planned riots. A facebook group has recently appeared that simply states “basically southampton is haveing a riot in town on friday so either you help the police and fight the riot or get free stuff”, although the group is open and all members are visible to the public.
The advice from the constabulary is to stay safe, stay indoors, and if you see any suspicious activity then phone the police on 101.