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Texting For Protection

by msecadm4921

Texting – the new, abbreviated language of text messages on mobile phones – is being applied to the security industry.

OBS 4 ECI M 508 II BLA d- DYD BLND /:-(.BL DNM JKT & TRSRS UTDY -dg RBED .)] COLMORE ROW IF APRS ?01216266114? PC HAYES
No, a cat has not run across the Professional Security typewriter. This is texting – the new, abbreviated language of text messages on mobile phones, applied to the security industry by West Midlands Crime Reduction PC Mick Hayes. Mick, based at Steelhouse Lane in central Birmingham, has set up PINS – partnership Information Networks Systems – a wireless messaging system to send warnings like the above to city centre businesses. In full it says: ?Observations for white male 5 feet 8 inches tall, thin build, wearning black baseball cap with dyed blond hair and pierced left ear, wearing blue denim jacket and trousers. Untidy, with a dog. Robbed mobile phone in Colmore Row. If appears, contact 0121 626 6114 and speak to PC Hayes.? Users do get a little leaflet explaining the symbols. Some will be known to any watcher of The Bill on ITV – EC1 for white race, for example. Others include%- for intoxicated, # for scar and (()) for fat. Birmingham police already send fax-voicemail and e-mail alert messages, but Mick points out that a receiver?s fax machine might be engaged, and someone might be away and not checking their e-mails regularly. Smaller commercial premises may have neither fax nor e-mail. Mick adds: ?I am going for the common denominator of communiation.? Even if a mobile phone is engaged when the alert goes out, once that call is over the mobile lets the user know of the incoming call. Even if a firm requires that their staff do not use personal mobile phones, Mick points out that a mobile can be bought cheaply for the control room. The Birmingham system uses TextNow! software from Milton Keynes-based RedRock software plc. The software has a search engine so that the sender can select a sub-group – commercial premises with CCTV internally or externally, say, or premises that use door staff. Equally, if replies come in, the search engine can scan for key words – to take the example at the top, the software would flag up ?pierced? in any reply as highly relevant. Messages will give details of suspects and their vehicles, crime trends, and tips. A possible application: after a street crime, texting members in that street with external CCTV to ask them to keep that day?s tapes for a police officer to collect. While the fax-voicemail and e-mail messaging will continue, the police are starting the text message service?s directory from scratch.

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