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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Membership of Cumbria anti-crime messaging service growing

More than 5,500 people have now signed up to a crime-busting service that offers advice and warnings to help residents thwart crooks.

Public-spirited citizens can also tip-off police and officials at the touch of a keyboard through the Cumbria Community Messaging set-up.

Email, text and phone alerts are sent out, featuring information about problems such as crimes, scams and suspicious people and vehicles. Those signed up also get word of open days or events where advice is given by public agencies such as police and the fire service.

The system launched last summer with its own website and was aimed at being a more accessible wider-ranging version of the type of alerts given out to Neighbourhood Watch members. People can go to the website and register for the up-to-date information.

The site can also be used to pass information back to police. Users can choose their own priorities or preferences, such as stating an interest in information about farm crime.

It features contributions from police, the fire service, Neighbourhood Watch and Cumbria County Council.

Andy Baines, Cumbria police’s safer and stronger communities manager, said: “Anybody can get onto the system. They just log in and register. It’s about getting people informed.”

Numbers have swelled following publicity about the site and recommendations by people such as police staff manning crime-prevention stands at local events.

Mr Baines said feedback showed people liked being able to respond to messages – and to see police follow up on what they have been told.

“Overwhelmingly, people are saying this is exactly the kind of info that we want. It’s a service that people really value.”

As well as registering online, forms are available from police stations so people without access to a computer can sign up and then check out the website at a friend’s house or in an internet cafe. To register online go to www.cumbriacommunitymessaging.co.uk.

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