A MISSING persons service launched by a Wigan dad has been hailed by police chiefs using the innovative system.
Steve Gannon, of Platt Bridge, set up Social Alert Me (SAM), which sends messages to people registered on its website about absent men, women and children, two years ago, as a tool to help officers in their search.
Using a team of volunteers, the 36-year-old visits police websites to set up the alerts via Facebook and Twitter across the UK and overseas.
Over the last 12 months he has been working specifically with Devon and Cornwall Police, which now uses the alerts to locate missing people.
PC Matt Kingdon, the missing persons manager for Cornwall Police, said: “We are now pleased to be the first police service to use the SAM website to assist in locating missing persons.
“What impressed us was how the alerts can be specific to a location so we can really target our requests to areas so members only receive relevant appeals.
“SAM is now in-built in to the police’s operating system so appeals are triggered immediately as well as members being updated once located.
“It is important to embrace the social networking world and by using SAM we feel it is assisting in safeguarding individuals and reuniting them to loved ones.”
Steve, a dad-of-four, said: “We are delighted that after over 12 months of work, Devon and Cornwall Police are now connected to Social Alert Me and are using the #SAMAlert system for all of their missing person appeals.
“The #SAMAlert is issued directly to local people in the quickest way possible via email and social media. This can go a long way to helping and assisting in safeguarding individuals.
“Devon and Cornwall Police have been amazingly forward thinking in using this free for all service in assisting them in the brilliant work they do. We hope and expect all other forces to join the system, and are currently trying to get Greater Manchester Police to be the next force to do so.
“Now is the time for communities to help each other and to help the police in locating missing children and adults and get them home safely and quickly back the their loved ones.”
To help find missing people visit www.socialalertme.com, www.facebook.com/Socialalertme or www.twitter.com/SocialAlertMe