Crimefighting service faces shutdown

SUFFOLK police's crimefighting messaging service will be shut down at the end of the week because of problems with the technology it uses. Police Direct, which provides its 25,000 users with crime advice and information appeals, was first introduced in the west of the county in 2005.

By Jonathan Barnes

SUFFOLK police's crimefighting messaging service will be shut down at the end of the week because of problems with the technology it uses.

Police Direct, which provides its 25,000 users with crime advice and information appeals, was first introduced in the west of the county in 2005.

But the popular free service will not be available after March 31 when the technology supporting the system is shutdown by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) for financial and contractual reasons.

Suffolk Constabulary said it was working to find a solution so the service can be resumed as soon as possible.

Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter said: “We are extremely disappointed that this innovative and popular service is being suspended - but it is for reasons beyond our control.

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“We are constantly looking at ways of improving our service to local people, which is why we chose to be the first force in the country to trial this new system.

“The system was developed in partnership with PITO (Police Information Technology Organisation). But now that this technology is being withdrawn, the service cannot continue at this time.

“It is disappointing that we received official notification of this decision just three days before it is turned off - and no information about how long it might be suspended for.

“However, I would like to reassure people that we will be working to find a solution so that we can re-launch the service in the future.

“Peter Neyroud, Head of the National Policing Improvement Agency, has promised that he will do everything he can to support Suffolk Constabulary which was the pilot site for this innovative and ground-breaking system to find an interim solution.”