Chief Inspector Beth Pirie, our new District Commander, is taking a very proactive role in community engagement, and one of the tools she would like to us to consider using is ‘Hampshire Alert’.
http://www.hampshirealert.co.uk is a free web based system which the public can sign up to and choose what information they want to receive and in what format – email, text or phone message – so the ‘alert’ is personal to them. People can sign up via the website, via their neighbourhood teams or via a portable kiosk that can be taken to events. People don’t need to have access to the internet as details can be added manually. Hampshire Alert is also linked to the Neighbourhood Watch network so anyone in a scheme can also access information about their specific Watch and NPTs can communicate directly with the database of members. Hampshire Alert is nothing like Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site. All the information is kept secure and private; you do not need to set up a social page or add pictures. Once registered, members only need to log into the system to update their details or preferences. Alerts will be sent to their chosen email or phone number. From April, Hampshire Alert will be the primary community engagement tool and the only method for how information is sent direct to communities.
What do we use it for? Primarily, NPTs will use Hampshire Alert to send out appeals, warnings about incidents, engagement events, Trading Standards warnings, crime prevention advice, good news – pretty much anything that would be included in a beat newsletter or Neighbourhood Watch communication. The benefit of it over our current distribution networks is that it can be used to target the community much more effectively using geographical or demographic data. It is also run via an external site so teams can send messages at any time from any internet enabled device. It is not linked to the force network. It also means that the whole team has access to all the community information, unlike now where many NPTs store lists in their own email contacts, or communication is reliant on a certain person being on duty. By using alerts and sending out information as and when incidents happen, teams will be communicating regularly with the public on the matters that they are interested in which is a much more effective and efficient use of their time.
Here is an example of a recent alert for the Horndean and Clanfield area: