Call to restore crime-fighting service

A PETITION is up and running on a government website today calling for the restoration of Suffolk's crime-fighting messaging service Police Direct.An on-line appeal has been launched to reinstate the service which provides residents in the county with information about crimes and policing initiatives in their area.

A PETITION is up and running on a government website today calling for the restoration of Suffolk's crime-fighting messaging service Police Direct.

An on-line appeal has been launched to reinstate the service which provides residents in the county with information about crimes and policing initiatives in their area.

The project was pulled at the end of March after the National Policing Improvement Agency decided not to renew their contract with the service provider because of funding issues.

The agency is currently trialling an alternative provider and hopes to restore the service in the future.

Police Direct was suspended with just three days notice in March and Suffolk's then Chief Constable Alistair McWhirter said the force was “disappointed” and was looking to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Now, a petition has been set up on the e-petitions section of the 10 Downing Street website to persuade the government to bring back the scheme.

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Created by John Burns, the petition has been in place since last week and has already collected 92 signatures.

It says: “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop the National Policing Improvement Agency withdrawing funding and technology from the Suffolk Police Direct facility

“Suffolk Police Direct is a ground-breaking messaging service that allows local people in Suffolk to receive appeals and information from the police via text, voice message or e-mail.

“Nearly 25,000 people across Suffolk have signed up to the service, which has proved extremely successful since its introduction in the west of the county in 2005.

“There have been many examples of where the service has resulted in the public reporting suspicious behaviour and even assisting to bring criminals to justice.”

The closure of the service also means people can no longer report crime on-line as that system uses the same technology.

Among the signatories on the petition are police officers, police staff and those who are subscribers to the service.

To view the petition visit http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/PoliceDirect/.

Do you think Police Direct should be reinstated? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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