New community messaging tool in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 13:00 25 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 18 June 2010

A COMMUNITY messaging system which helps police trace criminals and find missing people is being rolled out in Sidmouth. Residents and business owners, who sign up to the scheme, will receive a phone call with a recorded message from Devon and Cornwall Po

A COMMUNITY messaging system which helps police trace criminals and find missing people is being rolled out in Sidmouth.

Residents and business owners, who sign up to the scheme, will receive a phone call with a recorded message from Devon and Cornwall Police when an incident occurs.

The advanced technology means the message will only go out to people who are affected by the information- and can be limited to counties, towns or even specific streets.

Non-urgent messages, for example dates of PACT meetings, are also sent out to subscribers of the system.

This scheme has been operating in Devon and Cornwall for nine years and was used mainly to relay information to Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators and business owners rather than the general public.

But now community messaging officers are pushing for the system to be taken up by as many people as possible to make it even more effective.

Sergeant Andy Turner, of Sidmouth Police, told the Herald: "If a five-year-old child goes missing we can get the description out to people within minutes of it being reported.

"The system also warns people of criminal activity in their area, for example it could tell you where recent purse thefts have taken place in Sidmouth."

Sergeant Turner said community messaging has been a successful tool in crime prevention and he hoped Sidmouth residents would be supportive of the scheme.

He added: "The system is open to all households and we are urging people who want to do their bit to help the community to join- it will make us an even more effective team of crime fighters."

There are 35,000 people currently registered on the system in Devon and Cornwall.

Carole Newman, a community messaging officer, said: "We have been working on recruiting people for the last five years. With this campaign drive we could double the figure in a short amount of time."

Anyone interested in applying can fill in a form online at www.devon-cornwall.police.uk.

Alternatively visit your nearest police station or ring Carole on (01395) 226303.


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