Communication has always been key to running an effective police force.
From the pioneering efforts of the Bow Street Runners to the highly-organised machine that is the modern force, the police have always needed to maintain a dialogue with the population around them. The public needs to report crimes to them, and they need to feedback information to the public in order to catch criminals.
The effectiveness of their communication systems is often what makes the difference between catching an offender and letting them get away with it. It’s not a question of what the most superior form of communication is, as each has its merits. Email is ideal for reporting non-emergency, highly detailed incidents, whereas the phone is convenient for providing ongoing updates on a developing situation. What matters instead is having lots of useful options available to them at all times – one of which should be the text message.
Text messages are fast, secure, subtle, simple and reliable – and those aren’t the only qualities they have to offer. Preferable to other forms of communication in many circumstances, they can prove to be a highly useful addition to a police force’s armoury.
How Text Messaging Can Revolutionise Policing
Much in the same way that a textline works for SMS marketing and business text messaging systems, this service works best as a two-way channel, with information flowing both ways between the police and the general public.
Breaking the following points into these two categories, let’s run through the various ways in which a text message provider can aid the force in keeping the public safe.
Public Contacting The Police
Avoid Drawing Attention
There are certain situations where a person may need to call the police, but realistically can’t.
They may be dealing with an abusive partner who could overhear the phone call. They might be surrounded by drug users who they’d be calling about. They could be within earshot of a violent, racist or otherwise aggressive person who they need to report. They could even be in a situation as serious as hostage-taking.
Whatever the circumstances, people sometimes need to contact the police without drawing attention to themselves. Whereas a phone call can be a risky or downright implausible option, a text message can offer a far more subtle means of reporting a crime.
One of the most efficient ways of allowing people to do this is by having a keyword on an SMS provider’s shortcode system – for instance ‘Text HELP to 87007’ – that people can automatically send at the click of a button. Potentially, their phone’s GPS signal could then do the rest of the work for them.
Contacting the police can be done in an instant. Sending evidence to them can also be done rapidly too – but not with traditional methods.
We’re not referring to options such as a verbal account, which can technically count as evidence. In this instance, we are talking about hard, solid, concrete proof of a crime happening.
That could include an image of a person spraying graffiti on a public wall; photos of people trespassing on a private site; or a report of a drug dealer and user discussing a deal. All of this could be sent by SMS to the police in a heartbeat so that they can survey and assess the situation while it’s still happening.
Such a function would be particularly useful for certain individuals and businesses who may need to use it more regularly than most. For instance, farmers and others living in rural areas often need to report the noise and commotion of nearby illegal parties.
On The Spot Updates
People are currently able to update the police on an ongoing situation through a phone call. Texting doesn’t need to be a challenge to that process: instead, it can be an accompaniment.
For instance, imagine a situation where a group of people are trying to break into a building and they are spotted by a couple of passers-by. Neither of them want to alert the burglars, but they need to contact the police.
With an SMS messaging service, one could run back to the house and call from a safe place there, while the other sends on-the-spot SMS alerts of the ongoing situation to the same police department. If the two co-operated, they could even use a number given to them by the 999 operator to send such messages directly to the officers travelling towards the scene.
On a separate note, people could also follow up on initial reports by texting information they forgot to mention over the phone, thereby not taking up another caller’s slot unnecessarily.
Convenience for Deaf & Mute People
For obvious reasons, it can be far more difficult for deaf and mute people to communicate over the phone to a police department.
MS sufferers, stroke victims, people who suffer from severe anxiety problems and anyone else whose hearing or speech may be impaired in the moment could also find calling an implausible option, even when relay services and telecommunication devices for the deaf are available.
For such people, texting can be the difference between being able to contact the police and not. That’s why several forces have adopted a virtual mobile number for their district, allowing people to report emergencies via SMS message, as well as other non-emergency situations.
Police Contacting The Public
'Mobilise' Neighbourhood Watch
Although we imagine that police could literally mobilise a Neighbourhood Watch force (if one existed in their district), this is not what we’re referring to in this instance.
Instead, we’re talking about the ability of the police to send out information to the general public that could help them co-operate on apprehending criminals.
A key example here would be in the aftermath of an armed robbery. If police have CCTV footage of a person’s identity, they could text a link to that image to all citizens who have signed up to the SMS service in their area and urge them to text back with a location if they spot the person.
As with the first point in this list, a keyword could be used via a shortcut to make this system more efficient, for instance ‘Text SPOTTED to 87007’. It’s also worth mentioning that such a service could be a far more cost-effective way of catching a suspect on the run than, say, sending out a helicopter crew.
Finally, it could also offer night-time officers an opportunity to schedule alerts for more sociable hours during the following day, rather than recording the information and risking a daytime worker not spotting it early on.
Members of the public who have been arrested, have been a witness to a crime or have been contacted for some other reason by the police force often have to appear at a station for questioning. They may later also have to attend court.
The dates, times and other details of such meetings could be conveyed by phone; but the person might not be able to answer. They could be communicated via email; but so many people receive countless emails every day that it has a high chance of being lost in the mix.
Alternatively, they could be sent the information via a text message that would go directly to the phone the person is likely carrying – and, if not, the phone that will be waiting for them when they pick it up later on. It’s a far more reliable method than the other two and worth using at least as a back-up.
Alert Emergency Services
It’s not just the general public who the police could send information to, as text messaging could improve communication between various emergency services as well.
There are many situations where not one, but two or even more emergency services are urgently needed. If a person sends a text to one, that message could be easily forwarded onto departments used by the others, thereby alerting the ambulance, fire, helicopter rescue, lifeboat or whatever other service is immediately required.
Professional & Reliable
There’s no SMS provider UK-based or otherwise who can help you fulfil all of these benefits and uses as effectively as Fastsms can.
We are leaders in the field of SMS services, operating in this industry since 2002 with a business model that’s been ongoing since 1997.
Our vision has always been to combine the potential of SMS with superb organisational skills to create a service that anyone could use, at a reasonable price and with high quality support available at all times. We believe that we’ve achieved that vision.
Our service is:
Simple to use – no software is needed, just an internet connection. You can also configure your virtual mobile number so that any messages go directly to your phone.
Quick – we can offer a 99.9% guarantee that all messages will reach their recipient within 10 seconds. In reality, nearly all make it within six.
Security – we have multiple layers of physical and cyber-security protecting both our offices and the messages sent over our system.
Support – our email support and live chat services are available 24/7, always there to help you.
Therefore, if your police force wants to follow others in using a highly efficient, highly effective online SMS service, feel free to get in touch anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0800 954 5305 or simply click the chat button below.