Puffles calls for Cambs police to attend free social media training


Following recent negative headlines for Cambridgeshire Police, Independent candidate for Coleridge, Puffles the dragon fairy calls for officers to go to @Net2Cambs free social media gatherings

Cambridgeshire Police have been in the headlines over a recent complaint over a local blogger’s social media use (see here). Independent candidate for Coleridge, Antony Carpen (AKA ‘Puffles the dragon fairy’)  has invited police officers to come along to free community social media sessions with the Cambridge Net-Squared group hosted by local charity Cambridge Online.

Puffles volunteering as a social media trainer with @Net2Camb
Puffles volunteering as a social media trainer with @Net2Camb

Antony Carpen said:

“There are a handful of police officers and staff in Cambridgeshire Police that are very good with social media – I met some of them at local gatherings on public sector social media. However, there are clearly some gaps in the constabulary’s knowledge.”

“I am a social media trainer, but it’s bad form to try and make money from bad headlines. Instead of going straight to a consultant like myself, I recommend officers wanting to learn more about social media in the community should come along to @Net2Camb’s free monthly social media sessions to learn more.”

Guidance on social media is provided for free by a handful of Cambridge-based social media trainers including Ellie Stoneley and Mel Findlater, as well as Antony. They are organised and hosted by Andrew Entecott of Cambridge Online at the Hester Adrian Centre in Chesterton.

Antony said the monthly sessions are open to anyone, but you need to book in advance. If you/your community group would like to book a place, please call Andrew on 01223 300407 or email at help@cambridgeonline.org.uk. Please also contact Andrew if:

  • You are a confident social media user who would like to share your skills with local people and community groups in Cambridge
  • You are willing to help support the charity Cambridge Online – in this tough financial environment they need help with their running costs

Notes for editors:

The blogger’s account of his experience with Cambridgeshire Police is here.

Cambridge Net-Squared (@Net2Camb on Twitter & https://www.facebook.com/net2camb on Facebook) is a free monthly event for people in and around the Cambridge area interested in using web or mobile technology for social good.

Cambridge Net-Squared meetings are hosted by the local charity Cambridge Online (see here) that specialises in helping disabled and disadvantaged people, though services are open to all. This news release ****does not**** denote political support or a preference by the charity towards Antony/Puffles/any candidate or political party as this would breach charity regulations.

Puffles the dragon fairy is a Cambridge-based Twitter persona tweeting at @Puffles2010, tweeting about politics, policy and public administration in a social media context.

Antony Carpen, social media trainer, community activist and former civil servant is responsible for Puffles – having launched Puffles while he was in the civil service back in 2010.

Antony is standing as ‘Puffles the dragon fairy’ as an independent candidate in the Coleridge Ward for the Cambridge City Council elections on 22 May 2014 – see the council’s notices here.

In a quirky and unconventional campaign, Antony is not seeking to unseat incumbent Labour councillor Lewis Herbert. Instead, he is awareness of how local residents irrespective of their electoral status can use social media to influence local democracy through a ‘digital democracy challenge’ – see here.

Since leaving the civil service in mid-2011, Antony has advised government departments, local councils, private companies and charities on using social media in a corporate and public policy context.

Antony contributed to the 2012 civil service social media guidance (see the mention of Puffles in this release) as well as contributing towards the Commons Public Administration Select Committee on public engagement in policy making. Puffles got several mentions in the Committee’s cross-examination of Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude as a result of submitting questions on risks to policy. As a result of social media exchanges between Puffles and the Committee (see details here), the Committee accepted the recommendation that Cabinet Office needs to do a risk assessment on its proposal to outsource some policy functions – see recommendation 7.


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