Cambridgeshire Constabulary is urging people to sign up to a new social media scheme that allows it to release important information quickly in times of emergency.
Twitter Alerts make it easier for organisations to get critical information to the right people at the right time.
The force is joined by more than 50 organisations that have signed up to the scheme, including all the UK’s other police forces, the London Fire Brigade and the Environment Agency.
It will allow the force to highlight critical information to its followers by marking Tweets as alerts with an orange bell for extra visibility.
Twitter users can also sign up for the alerts and receive a notification directly to their phone via SMS. Users of Twitter for iPhone or Android will receive a push notification direct to their mobile.
The alerts are intended for crisis, disaster and emergency communications.
Events that could require an alert include:
· Natural disasters or severe weather
· Chemical or biological incidents
· Terrorist incident or threat
· Criminal activity that places the public in life-threatening harm
Alerts could warn of imminent danger, give evacuation directions, issue preventative instructions or give urgent safety alerts.
To subscribe, Twitter users simply need to visit the force’s account homepage and click on the link beside the orange bell symbol. Alternatively, visit http://twitter.com/cambscops/alerts
Peter Rham, head of force resilience, said: “In a major incident where people are at risk, one of our key objectives is to get fast and accurate information to the public, as it could save lives.
“Twitter alerts provide us with another way of communicating directly with people in an emergency. The alerts will stand out as being of exceptional importance and the notifications to people’s mobile devices mean we can get messages to people as they go about their daily business.
“I would urge people to follow our Twitter account and sign up to the alerts as one day they could prove extremely valuable.”