Yesterday marked a significant day in the Nextdoor calendar as we officially launched our public services platform to police forces, fire services and local authorities across the UK.
The tool, which has been in beta with a number of public services including the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), Police Service in Northern Ireland (PSNI) and several local authorities, allows public sector organisations to engage and communicate directly with residents in their area in a way that’s not been possible before.
The new tool was marked with a launch event where public services from across the UK heard from experts about how Nextdoor and technology can build stronger and safer communities. A panel discussion provided insights from PCSO Dave Haywood (MPS), Digital Communications Officer Lynette Dixon (Richmond Council), Nextdoor Lead and contributor to London School of Economics (LSE) project on Grenfell and the Community Response Cathy Long, as well as our very own Country Manager, Nick Lisher.
PCSO Haywood shared with the room how Nextdoor has not only improved community communication and engagement but in fact has helped his policing area solve crimes. Through a direct private message on Nextdoor, PCSO Haywood was alerted by a concerned neighbour about a suspicious Mercedes Benz which seemed to be parked up hidden behind a property near to them. PCSO Haywood passed on the information to the relevant team and the car was investigated and then discovered to be linked to three outstanding crimes. An excellent result for both the neighbourhood and local policing team!
Lynette explained how Nextdoor has helped Richmond Council improve and increase engagement in the borough compared to traditional social media platforms. On a recent post they found interactions from their residents was nearly triple that of other social media platforms used by the Council.
Nextdoor member and Lead Cathy Long joined the site when she moved from Liverpool to London. She used Nextdoor to meet new people and form new friendships however in June 2017 she witnessed first hand the platforms power in bringing people together in a time of need. Cathy lives nearby to Grenfell Tower and used Nextdoor to coordinate volunteer efforts and donations following the fire. Cathy also revealed the platform was the go-to source for factual and timely information and used Nextdoor to dispel myths and fake news which was circulating on other social media websites.
The launch also included a keynote address from Captain Charles Husted from Sacramento Police Department who has been using the platform in the US since 2013. Captain Husted spoke of the value of Nextdoor for his police force, which has enabled them to make arrests within hours due to the support and input from neighbours on Nextdoor.
In the UK there are already more than 350 police officers and council officers signed up to the platform, posting crime and safety updates, sending out urgent alerts, sharing critical news and advice, as well as publicising events and polling the community.
In Merton, London, a local PCSO sent out an urgent alert on Nextdoor for neighbours to look out for a vulnerable 81 year old missing person following a 999 call to police. A Nextdoor user saw the post and then whilst out and about in the local area, she noticed the missing man. She checked the man was ok and then used Nextdoor to alert the police officer, who asked her to stay with him whilst he sent officers to their location. Thanks to the Nextdoor user the missing person was safe and well.
Over in Hammersmith and Fulham, police are using Nextdoor to ask neighbours what areas they should focus on when they have upcoming night shifts. Residents responded with information on roads they were concerned about, particularly in regards to drug dealing. Officers responded to each concern and provided extra support and attention to the areas raised.
Already, Nextdoor users have revealed that they feel more reassured, safe and secure since their local police officers joined Nextdoor. So, if you’d like to see you police force, fire service or council on Nextdoor then why not let them know about the platform? Or if you work for a public service or know someone who does and would be interested in using Nextdoor to reach out to residents and communities then contact firstname.lastname@example.org