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Police in Preston test app for receiving tip-offs from students

Posted on - 26th November, 2017 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Lancashire Police, News, Preston City Centre, UCLan, University
PCSO Stephen Connolly sending a message to app users
PCSO Stephen Connolly sending a message to app users

An app which turned 50 policing students at Preston’s university into tipsters has been tested in the city.

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Lancashire Police are one of only two forces in the UK to try out the INSPEC²T project.

The pilot project took place during Tuesday to Thursday in Preston saw the students add an app to their smart phones.

It allows them to send in reports, pictures and videos of incidents or scenarios in and around the University of Central Lancashire campus.

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Inspector Sue Swift said: “The aim of the Preston pilot has been to build upon our engagement between the police, agencies and students and improve our understanding of issues affecting the student population, promote safety messages, and increase the sharing of information and intelligence.

“In Preston, and across the County, we are already actively using both social media and the ‘In The Know’ messaging service to engage with our communities with almost 700,000 people currently following Lancashire Constabulary across these channels.

“Being involved in this test will allow us to see if INSPEC²T could compliment this, providing an additional platform to enhance our ability to publish news and information, inform the student population about what we are doing and why we are doing it, appeal for help in solving crime and to find missing people, send out warnings and information to assist people in protecting themselves, encourage conversation, feedback and challenge where appropriate and arrange meetings with local officers.”

The police receive the information securely
The police receive the information securely

The two-way communication tool allows the police to send information out to the public, and gather intelligence and information back.

Head of the school for forensic and applied sciences at UCLan Dr Carol Cox said: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting and ground breaking project with Lancashire Constabulary and its European partners, which is designed to enhance community policing across the European Union. Around fifty of our students are directly involved in the evaluation of the project, now in its final stages, which will contribute to the changing landscape of neighbourhood and community policing in the UK and beyond.”

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Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said; “Creating safe and confident communities means people being able to report incidents to the police quickly and conveniently while receiving regular updates about what the police are doing in their local area. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of local policing to deliver the best possible service to the public.

“This pilot will be looking at ways to deliver this through new technology and will build on the community engagement that the constabulary already do through services like In The Know. Hopefully it will lead to new ways for the community to maintain contact with the police to improve safety and reduce crime together.”

What do you think of the pilot project? Let us know in the comments below

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