Following a successful trial the Queensland Police Service is rolling out contacting members of the public by SMS when investigating reported occurrences across the state. The tool, which is available to officers from today, has been successfully trialled in Brisbane South, Logan and Gladstone earlier in the year.
Currently, police are only able to contact people by telephone or by attending the location where the person is. Police believe this will improve two way communication as many people don’t answer phone calls marked ‘private’ or ‘no caller-ID’.
Now officers are able to send an SMS message to a person from their QPS email account. The message recipient will be able to reply directly to the officer by sending an SMS message back, for example by providing the requested details or making an appointment to meet.
Senior Sergeant Andrew Lake said the trial will make it easier for the public and the QPS to engage and resolve investigations faster. It will also improve the ability of victims to be advised of the status of their matter.
To reduce the risk of scams, messages will include information to identify it as coming from the QPS, including the crime report number. SMS messages will not include attachments or hyperlinks.
“If you are involved in an incident which would have been reported to the Queensland Police Service (including crime traffic crashes and DV matters), you may receive an SMS message from an investigator. If people are uncertain of the authenticity of the message, contact Policelink on 131 444.
“Anyone who believes they may have been targeted by scammers should report the matter through the Cyber reporting tool,” Senior Sergeant Lake said.
The email-to-SMS trial evaluation indicated 88 per cent of the community supported the QPS using SMS to contact them. 78 per cent of officers reported that SMS was very effective for contacting the community.