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Demand for police alert system increases in Derbyshire

An instant messaging service reinstated by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa to warn the public about crime and reduce their risk of becoming a victim has welcomed more subscribers.

New figures show subscribers to Derbyshire Alert have increased by 28.5% (1,000 subscribers) since the service returned on September 27 2016 thanks to funding by the Commissioner.

Some 4,500 people have now signed up for the crime prevention alerts and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with residents rating the service an impressive 5.4 out of 6. There are now ambitious plans to expand next year to increase the volume and geographical spread of the safety advice and to increase uptake.

“Support for this fantastic service has always been strong and I’m delighted so many people have been satisfied with the response since its return,” said Mr Dhindsa.

“The roll-out has been a gradual process and the service is still very much an ongoing development. However, what remains very clear is just how vital a tool this system is in building reassurance in our communities and preventing crime and we are all committed to maximising its benefits for everyone.

“Derbyshire has a vast rural landscape and our Rural Crime Team has been particularly productive on the system, delivering timely prevention advice to our farmers and rural communities to alert them of live crime threats.

“I’m also very grateful for our ongoing partnership with Neighbourhood Watch which is helping to enhance this valuable service and reduce the chance of opportunists bringing misery to our communities.”

The Commissioner agreed to fund the service in honour of his manifesto pledges so residents and businesses could continue to receive information to reduce their risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Since its reintroduction in 2016, 1,761 messages have been sent out (965,463 individual emails). Among the many benefits has been an increase in public attendance at police meetings due to invitations being sent via the system.

Also, in some instances, members of the public have instigated messaging alerts for the benefit of the wider public including advice to residents who use alternative fuel sources on what to do and who to contact in case of a disruption to their essential services during winter.

Tim Parkin, Digital Engagement Officer for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I’ve been running the Community Messaging system since 2003 when it was originally called Ringmaster, and seen it change through the years into Derbyshire Alert as it is now.

“The system has always been in a fluid state to meet the needs of our communities, the changes in technology and the nature of crime and threats to Derbyshire residents. Along with new social media channels the Alert system gives us another tool to communicate with our neighbourhoods in real time and allows a two way flow of information, giving people from rural communities to urban sprawls the opportunity to engage with us and have their voice heard.”

Alan Carter, Amber Valley Area Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator, said: “It was fantastic that the Commissioner brought back the system in his office in 2016 after making a promise during his election campaign to do so.

“There's still a lot of work to do to improve the service further and achieve the full potential of this valuable crime prevention tool. During our regular Neighbourhood Watch meetings with the Commissioner, he has listened to our concerns and we understand plans are now underway to expand the reach of the service across Derbyshire.

“This is a very exciting development and we look forward to assisting the Commissioner on this project in the future.”

For more information and to sign in visit www.derbyshirealert.co.uk

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Posted on Friday 29th December 2017
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