Police save the day (and a baby) with the help of Twitter Alerts

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Just a few months since Twitter Alerts launched in Australia, we’ve seen first hand how government and emergency services are utilising the power of Twitter to get critical safety information out to the public instantly.

Twitter Alerts offers emergency services and government organisations the ability to push critical alerts to users’ phones during an emergency, natural disaster or whenever other communication services aren’t accessible. More than 18 government agencies and public safety organisations are already using Twitter Alerts today (and the list keeps growing). We want to share the following example from @ACTPolicing as an inspiring account of how Twitter can be used in real time by law enforcement agencies to help keep our children safe and sound.

On the midafternoon of February 20, 2014, @ACTPolicing were working on an extremely delicate and dangerous case. A seven-month-old boy had just been taken from his mother during a carjacking in Ngunnawal, Canberra.

First, at 2:30 p.m., officers send a series of Tweets alerting followers in the nation’s capital to be on the lookout for a stolen car with an abducted baby boy inside.

At 3:41 p.m., @ACTPolicing sent its first Twitter Alert to all who had subscribed to the Alerts service. These subscribers receive Twitter Alerts on their mobile phones via text message and push notifications.

As police continued to search the streets of Canberra, Twitter user @GregKimball checked his timeline and saw a Tweet from @ACTPolicing (as reported by @abcnews):

I knew that police were in the area because they’d blocked off roads, so I just checked the number plate on the Tweet from ACT Policing and called police straight away.

12 minutes later @ACTPolicing sent its second Twitter Alert advising followers and subscribers that the baby had been rescued and was safe and well.

ACT Police thanked the public for their assistance in finding the missing baby.

ACT’s finest!

Then @ACTPolicing reminded the public to subscribe to Twitter Alerts:

ACT Police then tweeted out a full description of the male on the run, and asked the public to remain vigilant.

Finally, the following morning @ACTPolicing informed the public via Twitter that a man was arrested in relation to the carjacking and abduction.

As you can see, Twitter Alerts is both a valuable tool for public safety organisations that need to get real-time information out to people in emergency situations, and a key resource for people in those situations.

As David Pryce, Deputy Chief Police Officer, says: “This situation provides another good example of how ‘Twitter Alerts’ should be used to elevate the sense of urgency and to attract maximum attention to serious public safety issues affecting the community.”

So why wait any longer? Sign up for Twitter and subscribe to the Twitter Alerts from many of Australia’s public safety organisations today:
NSW Police (@nswpolice): Subscribe
Victorian Police (@VictoriaPolice): Subscribe
Queensland Police (@QPSmedia): Subscribe
Western Australia Police (@WA_Police): Subscribe
South Australian Police (@SAPoliceNews): Subscribe
ACT Police (@ACTPolicing): Subscribe
Australian Government’s travel advisory (@smartraveller): Subscribe
The Department of Health (@healthgovau): Subscribe
The NSW Rural Fire Service (@NSWRFS): Subscribe
Fire & Rescue NSW (@FRNSW): Subscribe
Country Fire Service South Australia (@CFSAlerts): Subscribe
The City of Brisbane (@brisbanecityqld): Subscribe
The City of Sydney (@cityofsydney): Subscribe
The Australian Red Cross (@RedCrossAU): Subscribe
Tasmanian Government’s official emergency account (@tasalert): Subscribe
Emergency management in the ACT (@ACT_ESA): Subscribe
Queensland Fire & Emergency Services (@QldFES): Subscribe
New South Wales State Emergency Service (@NSWSES): Subscribe