"Hi Alexa... is there a criminal on the loose?"
Lancashire Police said it is now using the Amazon Alexa voice-activated app to stream daily crime briefings.
Residents with an Alexa-enabled device can ask to hear information released by the constabulary, including details of missing and wanted people. Pictures can also be sent to smart phones.
The force said it is the first in the UK to use ‘smart speaker technology to engage with the community’. Free to use, the service can be accessed by asking Alexa: “What’s my flash briefing?”, or “What’s in the news?”
PC Rob Flanagan, who came up with the idea, said: “As a police force we are always looking at ways to engage with our communities.
“Alexa works alongside traditional policing methods to inform the public about the important issues. Voice activated searches now account for 10 per cent of online searches and are expected to rise to 50 per cent by 2020.
“We want to be at the forefront of this new technology to make it easier for the public to access the information they want to know.”
Last year, the force issued an apology after appealing for the public’s help to find wanted criminal Sean Gavin, two days after he absconded from Kirkham Prison, saying he should not be approached if spotted, but not informing the media or public of his arrest until almost a week later.
“We acknowledge that we should have informed the public sooner that wanted HMP Kirkham absconder, Sean Gavin, had been found and arrested,” the force said. “We regret that this happened and appreciate that it may have caused undue concern for people. For that we wholeheartedly apologise.”
Last week, the force only revealed details of a suspicious death in the early hours of Monday following an approach from the press on Wednesday morning.