A communications tool which is aimed at supporting communities to prevent and detect crime is being rolled out across north Wales.
Online Watch Link (OWL) is a unique internet-based system that supports, invigorates and administers community based groups and Watch schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch, Business Watch and Farm Watch. It enables members to be part of a network that instantly shares information of incidents such as crime or rogue traders using a variety of media including email, voice mail and text messages.
The scheme, which is free to join, was launched in Flintshire back in August 2009 and has been a phenomenal success. It was extended to cover Wrexham in 2010 to date thousands of householders have signed up to OWL.
“OWL is a great tool for the police, their partners and local residents as a means of passing relevant information quickly and safely,” said Libby Lee from North Wales Police’ Community Safety Team.
“It’s an interactive tool that promotes a two-way communication system between police and their communities. It also helps local residents to prevent and detect crime, support one another and be more aware of what is going on in their area.
“Once a resident has signed up to the scheme they will receive localised and relevant crime alerts and timely crime prevention advice which will be sent out by the OWL administrator.
She added: “OWL can only further enhance our capabilities in respect of supporting each other and making our communities safer and I hope the initiative goes from strength to strength.”
Crime alerts will include information on cold callers, burglaries, postal scams amongst many others. Individual recipients can be targeted, or larger groups such as streets, wards, districts or specific schemes such as Farm Watch. In the event of a local or national emergency – such as flooding, urgent messages can be sent out at once to the public via OWL.
Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: “OWL is an important tool to circulate information to reduce and detect crime. It has developed very well in Flintshire and Wrexham and we hope to see it successfully extended to cover the rest of North Wales.”
For further information on OWL and other Watch schemes in your area send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org contact the North Wales Police Community Safety Team on 01745 588776.
If you would like to sign-up to OWL, which is free of charge, log onto the website www.owl.co.uk/northwales