Text system will boost public engagement, police chief claims

A new public messaging scheme unveiled by police in Wiltshire will help officers engage with local residents, it has been claimed.

As part of the Community Messaging Scheme, which goes live today, members of the public will have access to instant SMS alerts relating to crime and policing matters in their areas, swindonadvertiser.co.uk reports.

The initiative could be hugely beneficial, according to Chief Constable Pat Geenty, from Wiltshire Police. He told swindonlink.com: “This is an additional tool with lots of potential for us to use to engage, inform and involve our communities in policing and crime matters.

“This is in line with our ethos to see pro-active, preventative policing becoming a permanent feature within Wiltshire Police and involving communities and more volunteers in policing and crime-related issues.”

At present, the service is only active in West Swindon, Warminster, Pewsey and Malmesbury. If the pilot phase is successful, however, it could be expanded across other nearby areas, or even nationally. Until then, residents are being urged to sign up to receive further information.

According to Inspector Martyn Sweet, the system will work both ways, allowing Neighbourhood Watch teams to communicate quickly with their local forces, as well as receive regular updates themselves.

Wiltshire Police have stressed, however, that the system will not be monitored at all times, and people should still call 999 in emergency situations.