People in Malmesbury, Pewsey and Warminster can now sign up for free messages - by email, text and voicemail - about policing and crime matters in their area by joining Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging.
Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire Police, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Wiltshire and Swindon, and Wiltshire & Swindon Neighbourhood Watch Association are officially launching this new two way communications tool with a number of community events.
Malmesbury, Pewsey, Swindon West and Warminster are the first four neighbourhood policing areas going live on Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging.
People who live or work outside these areas can still sign up and they will receive messages as and when their area neighbourhood policing team starts to use Community Messaging.
Mr Macpherson, who is commissioning the initiative, said: “Both myself and Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Pat Geenty are committed to involving communities in the prevention and reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour, in line with priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and the Force Delivery Plan.
“Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging is an exciting new system allowing the police to send emails, texts and voicemail messages to those signed up.
"It means we will be able to share information quickly and efficiently with our communities, including Neighbourhood Watch coordinators and members.”
Those signed up will be able to receive messages about policing and crime matters in their area, such as community policing news and events, appeals for information and crime prevention advice.
They will also be able to reply to messages, feeding back information to their local neighbourhood officers to help them in policing their local area.
Neighbourhood policing officers, supported by some Neighbourhood Watch volunteers, in the four initial areas are hosting stalls to talk with members of the public about Community Messaging and show people how to sign up with Mr Macpherson and the chief constable due to visit.
These events are at:
- Market Cross, Malmesbury, Tuesday, August 19, 1-3pm;
- Outside Co-op, High Street, Pewsey, Wednesday, August 20, 11am–1pm;
- Link Centre, Swindon, Thursday, August 21, 10am–noon;
- Three Horseshoes Walk, Warminster, Friday, August 22, 10am–noon.
Police Chief Constable Pat Geenty said: “This is 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."
Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging is part of a national system called Neighbourhood Alert, which is used by national Neighbourhood Watch and 12 other police forces.
Gwyn Comley, Wiltshire & Swindon Neighbourhood Watch Association chairman, said: “We are really looking forward to using this new messaging system, which will mean we have a central database of our coordinators and members.
"During the sign-up process, people are also asked if they wish to be part of or start a new Neighbourhood Watch scheme and I would encourage people to do so.
"The aim of Neighbourhood Watch is to bring neighbours together to create strong, friendly, active communities where incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour are less likely to happen."
Joining Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging is quick and free. There are no contracts or obligations of any kind for anyone who signs up.
To join Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging, or to find out more, visit www.wiltsmessaging.co.uk
Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging will not be monitored 24 hours a day and police say people should always call 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency.