You might find a new face next time you open Snapchat, the police.
Sussex Police have signed up to the mobile social network in an effort to engage with younger members of the community.
The force will begin using Snapchat on a trial basis during Brighton Pride on August 6, after which they will consider how best to utilise the social app going forward.
James Armstrong, communications manager for Sussex Police, said: “
The prime activity for Snapchat is to improve police engagement with a hard to reach demographic.”
The force plans to use Snapchat as part of its public engagement at Brighton Pride, with employees and volunteers of Sussex Police sending messages from the account.
Snapchat differs from other social networks in that messages sent over the platform are only available for a short time before they disappear forever. The mobile app is particularly popular among younger people.
“Following an evaluation of the use of Snapchat at Brighton Pride Corporate Communications will make recommendations regarding how the channel should be used going forward”, Mr Armstrong added.
Sussex Police aren’t the first police force to see the potential of Snapchat, however.
The technology was first adopted by West Midlands Police in 2014, who claim to be the first police force in the world to do so.
West Midlands Police communications manager, Peter Edney, said: “Snapchat is used to reach a younger audience and to get our key messages across to young people.”
“We have to try to be in a place where they are active”, he added.
West Midlands Police regularly get between 1,500 and 2,000 views on each of their Snapchat messages (snaps), and use the platform to get key messages across about crime prevention and safety.
The force also uses Snapchat for appeals that might be particularly relevant for young people, asking them to then call 101 with any relevant information.
“We’re always open to trying something and giving it a go to try and reach people”, said Mr Edney.
While Sussex Police have no immediate plans to use Snapchat for witness appeals, Mr Armstrong said that the force were aware that goals for the technology might change through ongoing use.