|Topic:||OWL Launches across the West Area Basic Command Unit (BCU)|
|Posted by:||Suzanne Tanswell|
|On Wednesday 13th June 2018, the West Area BCU of the Metropolitan Police publicly launch Online Watch System (OWL), a collaborative partnership technology between the Police and Neighbourhood Watch aimed at improving communication and responses to local crime and antisocial behaviour.|
OWL is an IT platform allowing registered users to engage and interact with their local Police and Neighbourhood Watch, online and on the go. Messages can be localised to part of a street, building or across bigger areas, so messages received by a user are more likely to be relevant than conventional social media.
Effective Neighbourhood Watch schemes help reduce crime and antisocial behaviour, and moving away from a traditional model, to one that people can access at a time and place of their choosing, expands the opportunity to engage with people across the local area.
Although West Area are the first BCU in London to use OWL, the system is already used elsewhere in the UK; and Police in several London Boroughs also allow their Neighbourhood Police officers to use it. Across Ealing, Hillingdon, and Hounslow, the system will be available for detectives and uniformed officers, helping to put out information about local crime with the aim of receiving help from the public.
Inspector Aaron Clarke, who is leading the project, said: “Getting better at telling the public what is happening is key to building public confidence, and letting people know what we are doing to tackle issues that matter to them is an important part of feeling safe. We want people to register for OWL as a convenient way to receive information and interact with us.
“Often, the public wants to help Police, but are either not sure how, or are leading busy lives and cannot attend meetings. OWL overcomes that problem, and registration is free. Driven by the grassroots of local Neighbourhood Watch volunteers, OWL shows the Police are keen to listen and respond to community concerns, and we will work with community partners to improve our service.
“The key message for criminals and those who blight the lives of others is simple. We are working with local communities, we will share information of crime, and we will encourage the public to help us put a stop to your behaviour. OWL brings us closer to people, and I think it is a great tool for improved communication".
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