8 Comments

Really interesting piece Dan. It brought back memories for me as a journalist based in Mexborough at the time of the Arkwright murders. Of course that was well before the rumour mill of social media. Pre Leveson, the Police would take journalists on one side and tell them off the record what really happened in an incident to stop us going off down false trails, the kind now spread like wildfire on social media. Post Leveson they daren’t speak to journalists.

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Very thought provoking piece. I'm left asking myself, as always, as a citizen with £0 budget, what can I do about this? https://www.facebook.com/groups/LoveSheffieldCommunity/

... was the beginning of a long term effort to build a strong social network with core values of kindness, compassion and creativity - I can offer leadership, help make it easier for friends who may Love Sheffield to become more connected and to create a positive difference together.

Some things can't be fixed from above with a bag of money... they can even be made worse with 'transactional relationships' - not everything in life has to make a short term financial profit for someone.

Thank you for your efforts through your journalism - not all news media is exploitative, just as not all social media is toxic, it just takes people who want to create a positive difference in the world, willing to work at it long term. 🙏

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Brilliant. Thank you. And wonderfully expressive pictures by Jake Greenhalgh: he's a gem.

It would help if the police were less passively-aggressively stonily silent, and said: "We do know that nobody has been injured, so please put your minds at rest about that one."

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A really good piece Dan, it captured what went off very honestly that day and as you rightly say you should always take what’s said on social media with a very large pinch of salt bad things can happen very quickly.

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Multiply your experience by that which is happening in some other areas of Sheffield where Social and Mental Health support services have been decimated over a number of years.

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Having grown up in Wath, just around the corner from the White Bear estate, I have seen my home town change massively over my lifetime.

As you write, it is a forgotten place. Aside from generic new build estates by the lake and call centres in Manvers there has been little to no investment in the area.

Estates such as the White Bear were destined to become the places they are due to a lack of support from the council and wider services. They become an echo chamber for beliefs around perceived and real injustices. With the advent of social media these beliefs reach a wider audience.

I believe this has been greatly exacerbated by the pandemic too. People’s circles grew even smaller and lives were pushed further online where algorithms keep you in your echo chamber.

Having moved away, when I visit these changes are striking from one visit to the next.

Your piece has captured the mood of this community perfectly. Wath has all walks of life and you have shone a light on one of those which has been forgotten.

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Interesting piece! And nuanced in terms of how mechanisms of social media can encourage the spreading of misinformation.

One thing I would say, with regards to mental health support, if it's not the responsibility of the police or local authority, then whose is it?

I don't know the specifics of the legislation, but I believe councils do have a statutory responsibility to provide mental health support. And given the police's record with deaths in custody for those with mental health problems, it would be far better to have mental health professionals employed by the council who were able to go and support individuals in these scenarios.

Obviously, local authorities have very little budget to do this currently - but I believe they should, in theory, be responsible for providing something like this.

(On mental health and deaths in police custody: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/494/494we06.htm)

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