Use your mobile to dob in local criminals on the sly.

Now this is an interesting scheme. Whilst text messaging could never rival the 999 emergency services, it’s not intending to, and for a community to feel that they can communicate with their local police force and get something done is pretty remarkable. Therein however, is where I grow dubious. Sure, you can send a text but will you get response? How much will it cost? And how does the sender know that their complaint is really being thoroughly dealt with?

My primary worry is that this may be yet another strain of ‘faceless customer services’, like the ‘online live chat’ or ‘enquiry forms’ on business web pages. Corporate examples, I know, but not too much of a stretch.

I’m definitely not going to downplay the idea; it’s certainly novel and the simple fact that we’re being given the opportunity, even welcomed, to talk with our police force is a positive development. I’ll reserve my judgement until it’s effect (or lack of) on crime rates is noticeable.

Talking to ‘youngsters’ in their own language might seem unbelievably condescending, but it just might work.

Read the news story at The Guardian Unlimited.

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