Lancashire

Lancashire Police uses Amazon Alexa to deliver updates

Amazon Echo Image copyright Amazon
Image caption Lancashire Constabulary is using Amazon Alexa to send updates straight to peoples' homes

Police have begun streaming daily briefings straight to peoples' homes through a voice-activated app.

Amazon Alexa users will get news and information from the Lancashire force directly to their smart speaker.

The force claims to be the first in the UK to use the technology to contact the public.

The free app will provide hourly updates and sends pictures of wanted and missing people to the user's device.

The project was developed by PC Rob Flanagan, Lancashire Constabulary's innovations manager, who has worked with developers from Amazon to set it up.

"As a police force we are always looking at ways to engage with our communities," he said.

"Alexa works alongside traditional policing methods to inform the public about the important issues in their neighbourhoods."

Image copyright Amazon
Image caption An estimated 11 million households had bought an Amazon Alexa device in the UK by the end of 2017

Voice-activated searches account for 10 per cent of online searches and are expected to rise to 50 per cent by 2020, the force said.

PC Flanagan said the project was in its "infancy", adding: "We want to be at the forefront of this new technology to make it easier for the public to access the information they want to know."

The app is available from the Amazon store. Its launch coincides with a recruitment drive in the county which will see around 200 new police officers sworn in to front line policing duties in 2018/19.

The force said it did not know how many Alexa users there were in Lancashire, but it has been estimated that 11 million people had bought the device in the UK by the end of 2017.

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