Social media award for Solihull policeman

Inspector Michael Brown named as Top Cop 2014.

A West Midlands Police inspector who specialises in mental health issues has picked up a top international award for his work on social media.

Michael Brown, who is perhaps better known by his Twitter handle @MentalHealthCop, was named earlier this week as Top Cop 2014 in the ConnectedCOPS Awards. He was presented with a trophy at the international SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference, which is currently being held in Birmingham. Insp. Brown is well-known for his regular blogs on mental health and policing, with more than 21,000 people currently following his updates via Twitter.

His interest in the topic started when he wrote a dissertation for a Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Cardiff University in 2004. But it wasn’t until 2011 that he became active on social media, when he started blogging to promote awareness of the role of the police service in mental health issues. His website soon grew and is now widely-recognised as a go-to resource for police officers up and down the country, as well as across the globe.

It’s not the first time Insp. Brown has been recognised for his efforts. In 2012 he won the Mark Hanson Digital Media Award from the leading mental health charity, Mind. Currently on secondment and working for the College of Policing, he now co-ordinates the police service’s approach to mental health on a national scale and recently gave evidence to the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee, who commended his work.

The inspector also lectures on the MSc in Forensic Mental Health at the University of Birmingham and gives guest lectures at a variety of academic institutions including the world-renowned Institute of Psychiatry, the University of London and the University of Manchester. On picking up the award, he said: “I am thrilled to receive this award because there are so many police leaders I admire using social media to great effect that to count myself amongst them is a privilege. “It is particularly timely that it’s been announced on World Suicide Prevention Day 2014, because it highlights that my work only comes about because of the on-going need to raise awareness about mental health issues.

“I just hope it helps to continue to stimulate discussion in terms of both how the police service can better protect and serve the public, as well as how policing can affect the mental health of those officers who protect our societies from harm.”

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: “I am delighted that Michael’s invaluable work on social media has once again been recognised by this prestigious award. Social media and mental health have recently come into a much sharper focus for the police and Michael’s efforts have been instrumental in shaping the service’s approach in both areas.”