A HIGH-tech weapon in the fight against crime in Hucknall has been unveiled — up-to-the-minute updates sent direct to your mobile phone or computer.
The trailblazing Neighbourhood Alert system allows police to send instant crime-alerts via e-mail, text-messages or recorded voice message to anyone who is registered through a special website.
The initiative is open to everyone in Hucknall — from community groups to businesses and individual householders.
Users of the service can also pass on information direct to the police about spates of crime or trouble, rather than having to call a control room, speak to a beat officer or communicate via Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators.
Hucknall’s police chief, Insp Nick Butler, is fully committed to the service. He says it is a brilliant way of getting into contact instantly with lots of residents.
“A couple of weeks ago, we had a case of bogus officials pretending to be from the water board,” said Insp Butler. “So we sent e-mails and texts out warning people.
Police will use the service to send requests for information on particular types of crime. But it also allows other organisations, such as trading standards and the fire brigade, to release information and warnings.
Insp Butler added: “If we there was a chemical fire or something like that, we could let people know.
“Hucknall Neighbourhood Watch has been using it successfully. We have nearly 300 subscribers now. You can register yourself or sit down with your neighbours and register them too. The more people we have, the more powerful it will be.
“It is free of charge and you can specify how you want to receive your messages. I also send out an e-mail each month which lets people know about any success stories.”
Hucknall and the surrounding villages have had Neighbourhood Watch schemes since 1992. But users of the new website do not have to be members of a group to receive or send alerts.
Coun Chris Baron (Lab), a Hucknall member of Ashfield District Council, said: “I have used it quite a few times myself. We had a Hucknall alert about a scrap van coming round and taking advantage of people.
“The forms are very easy to fill in and the police do the rest of the work. If you want to know what is going on, get registered and give it a go.”
Sally Wyatt, chairman of Hucknall’s Reach Out Residents group, is a subscriber to Neighbourhood Alert. She says the website is an excellent idea and keeps residents informed.
“We can pass information ono elderly people in the community,” she said. “If someone knows about a person going round with false ID, they can tell others quickly. The idea is to stop crime in the community.”
If you would like to register, visit www.hucknallcommunity.co.uk and click on ‘Join Here’.