A pioneering mobile phone app which looks set to revolutionise the way neighbourhood watch schemes communicate with members is to be launched in Rutland.
The free app will provide users with instant access to the latest crime prevention alerts, advice and statistics.
It also features a wealth of other useful contact numbers, web addresses, social media links, local news feeds and more.
The Rutland Community Neighbourhood Watch app is said to be the first of its kind in the country and is intended to be a useful tool for anyone who lives or works in the county.
It is the brainchild of longstanding neighbourhood watch coordinator Jan Warren, who lives in Belton-in-Rutland.
She has been supported by retired Metropolitan Police Superintendent Russ Horne, who lives in Glaston, and is vice chairman of the Leicester, Leicestershire And Rutland Neighbourhood Watch Association.
Jan said: “As the number of police officers on our streets continues to fall, neighbourhood watch has never been more important.
“But it can be a real struggle to get people to attend meetings, to get messages out, and to get feedback.
“Most people have smartphones these days and the app we have created means we can communicate with them in a much more effective way.
“Knowledge is power. As well as neighbourhood watch content, it also carries all sorts of other useful information – such as contacts for gas and electricity suppliers, bus information, and links to local news feeds.”
Russ said he is keen for local residents to get involved and help drive the app forward as it evolves in the future.
He said: “Rutland is a great place to live and has relatively low crime levels – but that could change if people don’t continue to be vigilant and do their bit.
“Neighbourhood watch is a really valuable part of the community and the app will hopefully encourage more people than ever to get involved.”
The app will allow neighbourhood watch members to share information about suspicious behaviour, missing pets and other matters of local interest.
It can also be used to report problems such as graffiti, fly-tipping, and broken street lighting via the www.fixmy street.com system.
The app was developed by Nottingham-based company The App Office. It is available to download now from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, but it still undergoing final testing.
It will be officially launched at an extraordinary general meeting of the Rutland Neighbourhood Watch Association on Wednesday, November 30.
The meeting, in the council chamber at Rutland County Council’s offices in Oakham, will take place between 7pm and 8.30pm.
Also on the agenda will be proposals to address problems caused by a lack of neighbourhood watch volunteers.