SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Police text cocaine users

Posted by Admin on November 12, 2008

At around 5:30am this morning the police in St Albans arrested 14 suspected drug dealers. The police in St Albans said that the people arrested were believed to be “selling cocaine to young affluent professionals, from a business that was set up like a pizza delivery service with three business lines.”

So, bad news for cocaine dealers and users in St Albans, but the next bit is where it gets interesting …

Following the arrests, St Albans chief inspector Richard Hann said:

“As part of this operation, we sent text messages to phone numbers that had called the three main ‘drug hotline’ numbers belonging to the people arrested today …  The message to them is that we would like them to seek help, now that we have significantly disrupted the St Albans drugs market – we will not be taking action against them in relation to these arrests.”

The messages will be pushing people to visit the ‘Talk to Frank’ website which offers advice and help.

It’s a fascinating move by the St Albans police. Basically it’s saying, ‘we’ve got your number, we know who you are, now get help before we arrest you.’ I wonder how many people switched on their phones this morning and got a bit of a shock … you know, just woken up, switch on the phone, ‘beep beep’, check messages, “Hello, hello, hello, this is the police …”. Aaaaarghh!

I hope it works and I hope that The Daily Mail brigade don’t go up in arms about how they should all be arrested and flogged and not mollycoddled with text messages.

Personally I think it’s a great idea.

As chief inspector Hann says, “We believe this is the first time a police force has sent text messages to people who they believe may be involved in drug use.” So I think it’s a brave move and one they should be congratulated for.

Can they measure whether the Talk to Frank website get an increase in hit from the St Albans area?

– – –


The BBC News site says that the number of people sent messages was 670. Read the article here.


One Response to “Police text cocaine users”

  1. […] by smsisthenewblack on November 27, 2008 After I reported that the Police in St Albans were texting suspected customers of arrested drug dealers, I came […]

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