New voice-activated app will provide community updates and circulate missing and wanted persons information
Credit: Lancashire Constabulary
Lancashire Constabulary has developed an Amazon Alexa skill to deliver hourly updates to citizens across the county.
The skill, which is available for free from the Amazon store, provides regular briefings about what is happening in users’ neighbourhoods, which is then transmitted via the Alexa smart speaker. The skill can also send to users’ smartphones and tablets pictures of missing persons and people wanted in connection with an offence.
The constabulary claims to be the first police force in the UK to use smart-speaker technology to engage with citizens. The idea of creating an Alexa skill was thought up by the force’s innovations manager PC Rob Flanagan, who worked with Amazon developers to bring the concept to life.
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“As a police force, we are always looking at ways to engage with our communities. Alexa works alongside traditional policing methods to inform the public about the important issues in their neighbourhoods,” he said.
Flanagan added: “We want to be at the forefront of this new technology to make it easier for the public to access the information they want to know.”
Alongside the rollout of new technology, the constabulary is also investing in its traditional policing capabilities, and plans to add about 200 new front-line officers over the course of the 2018/19 year.
“As the technology takes off, we will look at different ways we can use Alexa to support our policing priorities,” Flanagan added. “It is still very much in its infancy, but we are looking forward to exploring the ways in which we can use this technology in the communities we serve.”