Monday, May 09, 2016

OWL comes to Redbridge

We have a new toy - OWL – Online Watch Link.

Commissioned by Redbridge NHW and funded by Redbridge Council it is a NHW messaging system already being used very successfully in other places, like Hertfordshire where it started. But it’s not just for NHW. It supports Community and Residents associations as well as Business watches, Park watches etc.

It is hierarchy based and messages can be targeted to specific areas by postcode. The council may wish to issue flood warnings to a specific area or warn about a major traffic incident or road works. The police may wish to ask for witnesses or issue warnings of bogus callers in a specific area. And of course a Ward coordinator or a watch coordinator may wish to send out crime prevention advice to a ward or watch.

It is a very secure system, up to GCHQ standards, with data (your details) only available on a strictly need to know basis. The only people who can see you details will be your watch coordinator (if you have one, and if you do you probably already know them) your ward coordinator (the system is effectively run on a ward basis) and the borough system administrator (the Chair of Redbridge NHW).

It has proved to be very effective in keeping communities safe, helping to reduce crime and keeping people informed of what's going on locally as well as finding missing people and catching suspects. It was recently featured on BBC Crimewatch, see video below.

However, it will only be successful, and the funding maintained, if it is populated. Use it or lose it (like those missing High Street shops people didn’t use and now pine for), sign up now for your piece of the action.

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