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Award-winning Ruralwatch campaign embraces new technology
A MUCH-heralded police campaign for Knutsford’s rural communities is embracing modern technology and the lead officer wants residents to jump on board.
In 2007, the Knutsford Neighbourhood Policing Team launched the Knutsford Ruralwatch scheme to help prevent and detect Rural Crime in the area.
The scheme has received national acclaim, awards and television coverage due to its success.
PC Mike Dawber, who leads the initiative, told the Guardian technology had moved on and the Ruralwatch alerts will be issued in a variety of different ways, including on social media.
“The scheme was innovative at the time, using email to send out Ruralwatch alerts to more than 300 members of the scheme across Knutsford,” he said.
“We have some terrific results and convictions due to information from Ruralwatch members.
“However technology is moving on all the time and in an attempt to continue and build on this success, the Ruralwatch scheme has moved from email and will now be implemented through Cheshire Police Alerts and Twitter social media.
“With many people having access to smartphones these days, the Ruralwatch alerts can be sent out much quicker.
“We are much better placed to tackle rural crime than when the ruralwatch scheme was first implemented, in that we have a team of officers dedicated to the issue.”
PC Dawber added special training has been given to some officers to tackle specialist incidents.
“Whilst rural crime has been on the rise nationally, in Cheshire we have seen a reduction due to the Constabulary investing time and resources into this area,” he said.
“Knutsford officer PC Jim Day has recently received specialist training in relation to investigating wildlife crime and we also have support from four Police Community Support Officers in the rural areas.
“When matters are not necessarily a crime or police issue then we also work quite closely with our partner agencies the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the RSPCA.”
Members of the community can register for the Ruralwatch scheme by following cheshirepolicealert.co.uk and Knutsford Ruralwatch alerts can also be found by following @KnutsfordNPU on Twitter.
Report any suspicious incidents to Cheshire Police on 101, alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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