Police unveil database to share top tips on preventing crime

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POLICE have created their own “wiki” database to collect and share top tips on preventing crime in the first move of its kind by a UK force.

The site will allow the force’s 3000 officers to add their own experiences and knowledge on to the wiki pages on subjects such as break-ins and metal thefts.

Police chiefs said they were using the technology to avoid losing the expertise – or “organisational memory” – built up by officers over the years. Officers believe the site is primed to be replicated across Scotland once the single police force comes into effect next year.

Computer specialists are currently working on the software so that the internal wiki site is ready to be rolled out across the force in the next two months.

Inspector Jim Royan, from the force’s safer communities department, said: “This is a continuation of our desire to bring prevention of crime to the very front of the service provided by Lothian and Borders Police.

“We wanted to give everyone from front-line officers to managers and high-level staff ready access to the tactics that could inform our prevention work.

“This wiki site will be accessible to everyone in the force, and people will have the opportunity to add their own 
information and share their experience. We are very keen that we keep our ‘organisational memory’ by not losing the knowledge that our officers have built up over the years.

“It will be a moderated wiki site which will be quality assessed by moderators to ensure that all the information is evaluated.

“That may involve, for example, sharing prevention techniques around break-ins to homes, businesses or storage facilities which can then be shared with members of the public.”

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia was launched in January 2001 and now includes more than 22 million articles in 284 languages.

A number of multinational companies are now using wiki – a Hawaiian word meaning “fast or quick” – based forums to share information.

The police site will also include links to other 
organisation which have relevant crime prevention tips.

Insp Royan added: “To start with, we added a lot of information about preventing metal thefts as there has been a national campaign surrounding the issue and we have links to sites, such as the British Transport Police, who have advice on metal thefts at railways.

“This has allowed us to test the wiki platform and our software. The site is currently being tested for review before it is widened out to the whole of the force in the next two months. It is the first time a UK police force has used a wiki site like this.”