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Update: Calcot police 'tweets' dramatic front line updates

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Success just hours into new police scheme to use social networking site Twitter to help cut crime

CALCOT police's Twitter followers were today (Thursday) greeted with live updates as police were making arrests in their fight against burglaries in the area.

The police enlisted the social networking site to help encourage people to report suspected criminal behaviour in an area where burglaries are rife, but reporting rates low.

One of their tweets this morning read: “33 yr old male was arrested in Calcot on suspicion of burglary at 11.15am this morning #calcottweetathon.”

Another, posted just before 1pm, said: “Live update: A robbery has just been reported. Officers are now searching the area for the offenders #calcottweetathon.”

At a briefing on Monday, the head of West Berkshire police, Supt Robin Rickard, said the ‘tweetathon' taking place today (Thursday) is the first step in a campaign to fight the despondency and lack of communication in the area that has prevented police from greater success.

“There is a sad lack of [crime] being reported in the area,” he said. “Calcot is affected by a disproportionate amount of crime, but there is a lack of community engagement and people are not reporting suspicious behaviour.”

Asked why he thought this was so, he said: “This is a good neighbourhood, a prosperous area, but there is no real heart to the area: people are on the border of Reading and West Berkshire, and the majority of them work and have very busy lives. They are not engaged and don't often report what they see to us.”

Calcot Burglary Reduction Team member Sgt Paula Morgan, said the tweetathon was just the start of their drive for greater community engagement: “We will use twitter quite intensively on Thursday, but we will also be using social networking more actively in future to engage people and warn them of the risks of crime.”

She said that sharing information was key: “If [people] are oblivious they just don't protect their property well enough.”

Follow the team live using twitter username TVP_WestBerks.

LATEST: Officers have tweeted of their latest success as an elderly woman who had gone missing from her home was found.

At just after 2pm, officers notified the public that they were looking for an elderly woman who had gone missing from her home.

Their message read: "Live update: Officers are out searching for a vulnerable elderly lady who has gone missing from her home address #calcottweetathon"

But less than an hour later, a tweet followed: "Vulnerable, elderly lady has been found safe and well by driver of West Berks Care minibus #calcottweetathon"

Their twitter followers were clearly impressed with the operation so far, with one Kags_7, referring to the earlier arrest, tweeting: "What a coop on the burglary sweep in Calcot to catch one! Well done and good luck with you tweetathon."

Latest: (Friday, 2pm)Police have followed up on their promise to keep tweeting from the front line even after the tweetathon ended yesterday evening.

They concluded yesterday by news of the suspected burglar arrested yesterday, saying: "Male arrested earlier on for burglary has now been charged and remanded," and shortly thereafter: "Remember to keep following @TVP_WestBerks for daily news and updates #calcottweetathon."

Today, they have also notified followers of arrests made in Thatcham and have given further crime reduction advice.

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