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Residents in an area of Wrexham will be the first in Wales to be able to contact their local policing team online at a designated centre.

Police surgeries are popular with officers as a way of discussing problems face to face with members of the public. People sometimes turn up with specific problems and at other times they just want a chat with their officer.

However, it is not always possible for a police officer to set aside a lot of time just to chat so now residents in Hightown can raise problems or concerns with their policing team using the OWL system and the IT and training resources available through Communities First.

Hightown Communities First will host the new service at the Luke O’Connor centre which has been set up in partnership with the police and the Online Watch Link team (OWL).

Watch schemes and OWL were first launched in Hightown last year. The system alerts residents to crime in the area and also sends out community safety messages to everyone signed up to receive alerts.

The new method being piloted will allow people not signed up though their home computers to access OWL and contact their local policing team directly.

Local Inspector, Mark Williams said: “This is a great idea as we are always looking for ways to improve how we contact our community. It simple to use and we particularly want this to be something young people will feel comfortable using in the Hightown area.”

“By signing up to OWL police surgery you can now report crime or send your concerns through to your local policing team. Just type in your issue and press a button. Within five working days you can expect a response.

“This is not to be used for emergencies; residents should still dial 999 to report incidents that are serious and immediate and 101 for non emergencies.”

If residents do not have access to e-mail, it will be provided for surgery uses at Luke O’Conner House free of charge.

This is the first online policing surgery in Wales and is already generating a lot of interest in other areas.

The Online Watch Link (OWL) is managed by Flintshire & Wrexham Neighbourhood Watch Association and the Flintshire and Wrexham Community Safety Partnerships.