A NEW initiative aimed at tackling crime and anti-social behaviour while also keeping the public abreast of police matters in their area was launched in Malmesbury and Pewsey this week.

Anyone signing up to the Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging scheme will receive emails, texts and voicemails informing them of local policing and crime matters.

Recipients can reply to the messages and the scheme is aimed at more actively involving communities in the prevention and reduction of crime.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson and Wiltshire Chief Constable Pat Geenty were in Malmesbury and Pewsey this week to unveil the pilot scheme.

Mr Macpherson described the service as an ‘exciting new system that means we will be able to share information quickly and efficiently with our communities, including Neighbourhood Watch members’.

Messages will include community policing news and events, appeals for information and crime prevention advice. Any replies will be used as feedback to help officers police their area.

Mr Geenty said: “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.”

The scheme is part of a nationwide system called Neighbourhood Alert, used by national Neighbourhood Watch and 13 police forces.

Wiltshire & Swindon Neighbourhood Watch Association chairman Gwyn Comley said: “We are really looking forward to using this new messaging system, which will mean we have a central database of our co-ordinators and members.”

People signing up will be asked if they wish to join or start a new Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

For more details, visit www.wiltsmessaging.co.uk The service will not be monitored 24 hours a day but police can be called on 101, or 999 in an emergency.