Police in Adur and Worthing are trialling a new device which uses Bluetooth and WiFi signals to broadcast messages about crimes and incidents, missing people and security advice to mobile phones and tablets.
The device invites anyone within a 400 metre radius who has their Bluetooth signal on and their device set to “discoverable” to receive specific messages from the local Neighbourhood Policing Team about incidents in their area.
It also allows members of the public to join an open WiFi connection named ‘SussexPolice’ and to access local information through the internet browser on their device free of charge.
If receiving messages over Bluetooth, an electronic business card is sent and a contacts list entry is automatically added under Sussex Police Non Emergency Number, containing the 101 number.
Chief Inspector Jo Banks, Adur and Worthing District Commander, said: “This innovative idea will allow my officers to communicate quickly with residents about local incidents, asking for their help and support in locating vulnerable missing people, identifying suspicious vehicles and witness appeals to crimes.
“The way that technology can be used to communicate is increasing on a daily basis and I am keen to look for as many different opportunities as I can to ensure that we are using it to the fullest extent to provide the public with important information about crime and community safety.
“I hope that this device will be another tool that my officers can use to keep local residents informed. To receive messages, it is important to make sure that your device’s Bluetooth is switched on and it is set as ‘discoverable’. Once you are in range of the device, it will automatically ask if you would like to receive a message.
“You can also access the device through a WiFi connection which will be named ‘SussexPolice’. This will allow you to browse information on an internet browser.
“The messages are free to receive. We will never ask you to provide any personal information through this device, but to contact us through 101 on 999 in an emergency. If you are worried or concerned about receiving these messages, you can decline any invite that you receive.”