Bluetooth technology dials up crime prevention alerts

Officers in Peterborough have begun using new technology which allows them to send messages to mobile phones.

May 8, 2008
By Paul Jacques
PCC Donna Jones

Officers in Peterborough have begun using new technology which allows them to send messages to mobile phones.

The community safety unit at Bridge Street Police Station has taken delivery of five Bluetooth boxes which 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 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, cost about £1,000 each but are free of charge to use.

They will mostly be used to send crime prevention and safety messages to young people on weekend nights out at city centre nightspots.

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 will vary and their subject will often depend on what issue the community safety unit is concentrating on at the time. The technology gives us the capability of sending messages to thousands of people in one night but we will be careful not to overuse it.”

The Bluetooth boxes, made by Astrocomm, can send messages to seven mobile phones every 40 seconds.

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