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New crime prevention tool
10 Sep 2009

Half of all UK police forces have begun using new technology during the past year which allows them to send multimedia messages to the general public via mobile phones. The messages are free to send and free to receive, via a Bluetooth device supplied by Astracasting  Limited.
One such force is Cambridge Constabulary, where its community safety unit at Bridge Street police station has taken delivery of five Bluetooth boxes that can send quick-fire messages to phones within a 100m radius. People with phones which have a Bluetooth capability enabled will receive a note asking them if they want to receive a message from Cambridgeshire Constabulary. If they accept the offer, they will be sent the message, which will be purely for information and will not require a response.  
The devices, which have been funded by the Peterborough community safety partnership, are free of charge to use. The units have mostly been used to send crime-prevention and safety messages to young people on weekend nights out and were used for the first time in the city centre nightspots at weekends, including Edwards, The Park, HG’s, Liquid nightclub and Chicago Rock Café. One of the messages read: “Don’t advertise your phone to thieves: keep it safe, keep it hidden. Register it at www.immobilise.com.”
The units come in shockproof cases and can be deployed quickly for emergency situations or strategically placed in shops or outlets where crimes may be on the increase.
The devices could also be used to appeal for witnesses to serious crimes and they have been used by police investigating the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool.  
Chief Inspector Jon Betts said: “These devices will be an extremely effective way of getting important messages out to as many people as possible and they will be particularly aimed at young people. The messages vary and their subject often depends on what issues the community safety unit is concentrating on at the time. The technology gives a police force the capability of sending messages to thousands of people in one night.”
Superintendent Peter Norman from South Yorkshire Police met the Home Secretary last December during a high-profile gun and knife amnesty campaign. The use of the Bluetooth mobile units was high during the campaign and the product was discussed as being a great innovative tool in new policing methods. Subsequently, Astracasting was asked to adapt a Home Office video called ‘Knife City’ into a mobile phone format for distribution to police forces.
Other forces which have purchased from Astracasting and have given great testimonials, include: the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Cumbria, Kent, Metropolitan, GMP, South Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Cornwall, West Mercia, Kent, Northumbria, Northants, Merseyside (preferred supplier status awarded), Humberside and Grampian. Many partners, including councils and fire brigades, are now purchasing the product too. Interest has also been shown by organisations such as the prison service, education, Trading Standards and the health sector.
In Leicestershire, Chief Inspector Martyn Ball used Bluetooth messaging as a key part of a project involving the local partners to make Hinckley a safer place for the overseas workers of National Grid. This two-year project had such great results that Chief Insp Ball and the partners won the prestigious national Beacon award and £150,000 prize money.
Bluetooth messaging in schools has proved extremely effective and results show that in one instance, the message being sent out totally eradicated mobile phone thefts in a school.
nContact Astracasting Limited to find out more on how these fantastic messaging devices work and how they can be used by any public or private sector organisation to get its message across to the general public. Visit www.astracasting.com, call 01726 812233 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday or email sales@astracasting.com


Who are Astracasting Ltd?
As one of the first companies in the UK to adopt Bluetooth messaging for public sector and emergency service providers as product sets, it has taken two years of hard work to establish ourselves as a market leader within the UK. We are based in Cornwall and are proud to shout about the strong ethics we hold, as a small enterprise which has local employees based in a region where running a successful business that trades mostly out of county is very hard at the best of times. With the current recession and from a logistical side, life is hard all around, but we are thriving and won an award from Business Link in 2008 as a local success story.
There are many central government incentives that have been launched, and funds set aside, that the Astracasting Bluetooth system fits with perfectly, such as the Policing Pledge and new policies on telling children what’s on locally in their area during the summer holidays.
We like to treat our clients as individuals and don’t publish pricing. So why not call us today for a bespoke quotation and to discuss how we can help build your business with our innovative products. We have taken on regional account managers and want to establish long-term support and management with our clients, so that your investment pays off. If you want a demonstration and a site visit, then please contact us to request a meeting.


 



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