“Hi Snapers! Tell me, I have a question for you, what are you doing this weekend? » At the beginning of February, Anthony, police officer and “ambassador” of the national police on social networks, invites his subscribers to the Student Fair in the informal tone of Snapchat influencers. “If you’re up for it, we can even snap together! »
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The sequence is nothing unusual, even from a policeman. Arriving on Facebook and Twitter in 2012, the police are not new to the Internet, and they have since invested in young people’s favorite networks: Instagram in 2018, Snapchat in January 2021 and TikTok last June. While most presidential candidates seem to agree on the need to recruit more police officers, the institution is relying on these tools to improve its image and encourage vocations.
Ambassadors to talk to young people
Within the information and communication service of the national police (Sicop), created in 2005, three community managers and two ambassadors manage the institution’s presence on the networks. “The ambassador is a bit of a “national police influencer”summarizes Frédéric Laissy, head of Sicop. It creates a personalized link that allows young people to identify with whoever addresses them. »
“Developing the “national police” brand through communication and marketing strategies is a very strong element of their communication”, decrypts Guillaume Le Saulnier, lecturer in information and communication sciences at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, specialist in communication for the national police.
On Snapchat, the institution “chose to post videos that are fun to watch,” announced Anthony at the opening of the account. Interviews with police officers and educational videos therefore rub shoulders with videos of interventions such as that of a refusal to comply, or“a driver believing himself in GTA (video game famous for its car chases, Editor’s note) », in the words of the ambassador.
“The rhetorical discourse developed by the police on social networks adapts to the public, with a more informal language, analyzes Guillaume Le Saulnier. It builds identification media into which individuals can project their aspirations. explains the specialist.
Future recruits confirmed in their vocation
With what efficiency? According to Frédéric Laissy, this strategy plays “an important role in recruiting and encouraging vocations”. In fact, some young people are delighted with the presence of the national police on social networks but also that of the agents who, on a personal basis, share their daily life on Instagram independently of the official communication of the institution.
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“It allows us to get closer to the police, says Loïc, a 19-year-old student. It allowed me to discover the profession in a different way and to ask lots of questions about studies,” explains the young man who already had in mind to join the police. Marley, an 18-year-old high school student, is preparing for the entrance examination.
On social networks, “we see the real daily life of the police, we can discover the brigades and the units”, explains the young man who says he was ” needle “ in its orientation thanks to the account of Arnaud, policeman of the night anti-criminal brigade of Paris, 50,000 subscribers on Instagram.
The “cool” image of police professions
On the other hand, on these networks, the police clearly choose to communicate on a “glamorous” image of the police profession. On TikTok, the publications are made of choreographed videos and other montages on a musical background: securing the Cannes Film Festival by snipers on the roofs, helicopter ride with the mountain CRS, training of elite units or choreography of motorcycle training…
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“With a category of users aged 12 to 15, the idea is to create fun content, to give the image of a modern and dynamic police force, assumes Frédéric Laissy. They have to say to themselves “the police are classy, the police are cool”.. Even if it means risking disappointing some? “Sometimes we broadcast images that are not statistically representative of the profession, he admits. We arouse a little the envy of these young people and then explain to them the different professions of the police. »
The police, how many subscribers?
The national police have around 155,000 followers on Instagram and 130,000 on Snapchat. 750,000 people follow his TikTok account, which has 3.8 million “likes”.
The police are most followed on Facebook, with more than 760,000 subscribers, but this network is massively neglected by 16-25 year olds. According to a study published in February 2022 by Diplomeo, only 48% use it, compared to 93% in 2017.
According to the same study, the most popular networks among 16-25 year olds are Instagram, which 84% of them use, Snapchat, practiced by 76% of them and TikTok, adopted by more than half (52%).