‘Crime’ web initiative wins praise

The crime-fighting web service OWL has been judged as the most innovative use of software in ‘Britain’s Digital Elite’ awards information exchange category.

Nov 29, 2007
By Paul Jacques
South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Lauren Poultney with Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest and OK9 Wellbeing dog Buddy with their Leadership award.

The crime-fighting web service OWL has been judged as the most innovative use of software in ‘Britain’s Digital Elite’ awards information exchange category.

OWL is an Internet-based application developed by Direct Path Solutions in partnership with Hertfordshire Constabulary and deployed across the county for the police and public to administrate their Neighbourhood Watch schemes online and other schemes such as School, Shop and Pub Watch.

OWL improves communications via phone, text messaging, fax and email along with a management system that addresses the multiple requirements across police and voluntary roles.

OWL provides the police with an easy and effective way to communicate with the public on local and force-wide issues, be it an alert on distraction burglary or an important message after a terrorist or civil emergency. The recent police performance indicators said that OWL “is highly regarded by those Safer Neighbourhood (SN) teams that currently have access to it.”

In Hertfordshire 150 police staff and officers already have access to OWL and thousands of watch members can also log in to send messages, administrate watches, keep contact details up to date and log observations in their incident e-diary. The latter provides the police with a new source of fully searchable community intelligence.

Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, Frank Whitely, said: “It’s an innovative system providing more than just a communications tool and understands and responds the needs of the many volunteers running watches throughout the county.”

The awards are judged by Microsoft and Real Business magazine.

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