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Jack Straw launches crime reduction initiative

Added: (Tue Feb 13 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Embargoed for publication until 00.01hr Friday 16th Feb

Jack Straw and Sir Alan Sugar launch email initiative
In bid to fight crime

Email technology enables virtual crime watching community

Friday 16th February sees the launch of e-m@iler watch, a revolutionary new scheme which allows Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators to communicate with the Police in near virtual time by means of Amstrad e-m@iler communication centres installed within their homes. The scheme will be launched at a press conference in Blackburn, at which Home Secretary Jack Straw, Amstrad Chairman Sir Alan Sugar, Director General of Neighbourhood Watch John Howell, Chief Constable Pauline Clare and Chief Superintendent John Thompson of Lancashire Police will be in attendance.

The e-m@iler watch scheme is a pilot scheme launching in Blackburn South. The scheme goes live on 19th February, and will initially involve hooking up 62 Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators with the Lancashire Police, allowing them to communicate with one another via email. Amstrad have donated the initial Amstrad e-mailer phones, which will be installed in 62 homes across the Blackburn South division. The scheme is planned to roll out to over 500 Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators across the Eastern Division by the end of May with the ultimate aim of taking the initiative nationwide.

The E-m@iler watch initiative will link Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators and the Police together by email using Amstrad e-m@iler communication centres. The e-m@iler is a state of the art digital telephone answering machine that allows the user to send and receive emails as well as send SMS text messages to mobile phones and send faxes. It is the cheapest and most effective way to send email without the need for expensive personal computers and therefore the ideal product to get the scheme up and running.

The initiative has been developed under the guidance of the Lancashire Police Eastern Division, who have for some time been looking at ways of enhancing the way they work with the Neighbourhood Watch. The e-m@iler watch scheme will be run from the Community Safety Department of the Lancashire Police, and will be fronted by PC Mark Pettitt and divisional Neighbourhood Watch manager Carol Hendey.

Neighbourhood watch co-ordinators will receive regular intelligence briefings for the division. These briefings will highlight crime trends and hotspots, and provide Neighbourhood Watch schemes with the information to protect themselves and their community. The network will also give the Division the means to pass any other messages out to the public including appeals for witnesses, specific crime prevention messages etc. The scheme provides Police with an easy and quick way to communicate with their communities and vice versa. In addition, area co-

ordinators will be able to email specifically tailored information concerning their own area. The e-m@iler watch scheme provides a secure two-way flow of information, and Neighbourhood Watch schemes will have a more efficient method of communicating with the Police, cutting out many of the telephone calls that have previously taken so much time and ensuring that important messages are not missed.

Jack Straw said, “ The e-m@iler watch scheme provides a perfect example of how email technology can be used to improve the flow of information and intelligence in a bid to decrease crime. The idea is that the more we communicate – the more information we can share – the more we can prevent and detect crime”

Chief Constable Pauline Clare said, “ For some time we have been exploring ways to enhance the service we provide to Neighbourhood Watch throughout Eastern Division. No easy task when you think that four of the National Award winners from last year came from this division. The e-m@iler watch initiative takes the Neighbourhood Watch into the 21st Century, providing us with a virtual crime watching community who I am confident will help reduce crime levels and assist us in achieving our vision of making Eastern Division Neighbourhood Watch the very best in the country”.

Sir Alan Sugar said, “ Email provides the ideal method for Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators to communicate simply and effectively with both the Police and one another. The e-m@iler is the ideal product to facilitate such a scheme, as it is small, easy to use and cost effective. As part of Amstrad’s commitment to ‘Get Britain Emailing’, I am delighted to be involved in such a revolutionary scheme and see the e-m@iler put to such good use”.

John Howell said, "Neighbourhood Watch is a tried and trusted method of involving the community in helping the police to fight crime and build safer communities. Good communications is of vital importance to this process and the e-m@iler watch scheme will help to achieve better interaction between NW co-ordinators and the police by ensuring near real time communication. This use of e-mail
will fit very well into the national Internet community portal to be launched in April under the name of www.neighbourhoodwatch.net."

Notes to editors:
A press conference to launch the e-m@iler watch scheme will take place on 16th February 2000 at12.00 midday at the Regal County Hotel in Blackburn. A photocall opportunity with Jack Straw, Pauline Clare, John Thompson, John Howell and Sir Alan Sugar will take place at 12.45pm. All five will be available for one-to-one interviews.

The following partners are supporting the e-m@iler watch scheme financially:
Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire Police Authority, LANPAC, Government Office North West, Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Hyndburn Borough Councils, Blackburn Association of NW, Amstrad.

The Amstrad e-m@iler costs 79.99 and is available at all major high street electrical retailers. For further information phone 01277 263 246 or visit www.amstrad.com

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact
Andrew Bloch/Eva Sogbanmu
at Frank PR 0207 341 0930/ 0411 469 392 Andrew@frankpr.it/info@frankpr.it

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