The pioneering officer behind Kingston Police’s social media revolution has left the force, and has spoken about the journey, some of his highlights and what comes next.

In 2015, Seb Ellis went to see his borough commander, Glenn Tunstall, with a set of ideas to put the police social media presence to better use.

Seb said: “I saw it was being used as a broadcast channel. We were sending out information but people were contacting us and not getting a reply. We needed to introduce two-way communication.

“At the time, there were some really good stories about officers, but nobody was hearing about them. I thought we needed to humanise our social media; it was a huge opportunity.

“I also wanted to get rid of the jargon and just use normal language.”

Now, Kingston Police Facebook posts reach 1.5million people a week and the page is ‘liked’ by more than 70,000 people.

Seb has trained four other forces and most London boroughs in social media strategy, and received a Commander’s Commendation for his work.

Kingston Police was the first to stream a 999 call live on Facebook, and broke ground in a number of ways.

A humorous letter to Tracey Dyke asking her to hand herself in went viral around the world and led to her arrest on burglary charges, but also led to more than 20 official complaints from the public.

He said: “I think my highlight was going on Britain’s Got Talent with [PC Dan Graham]. That came about after we did a few videos of him dancing that went viral.

“One way it’s really helped is with missing people. There was one case where somebody saw one of our appeals on their phone on the bus, and they were actually sitting next to the missing person.

“In terms of cuts and other things the police are going through, that shows how powerful and useful to them social media can be in harnessing the power of the public.”

Seb joined the police in 2007, initially being posted to Wandsworth, and joined Kingston in 2010.

His last day was Tuesday, August 15.

“It was a bit of a surreal feeling after 10 years, going in knowing it was my last day. It wasn’t something I was looking forward to, to be honest,” he said.

“I have really enjoyed it. It's definitely shaped me – seeing some of the things that I've seen. Some of those things have been horrible, but there's also been a lot of stuff that's hugely rewarding. There have been a lot of ups and downs.”

Now, he is going to spend time on the business he set up two years ago.

He said: “The business started growing and growing. A year ago, I went part time at the police to put more time into it and now I need to do it full time.

“I'd really like to thank the local, national and worldwide public for their support throughout our social media journey. To go from reaching zero to 1.5million people per week on Facebook in two years was all down to them.

“We couldn't have done it without the shares, comments and likes. I really appreciated the support and will always remember it.”