Kingswood Residents Association – Use of WhatsApp for security purposes

Please see below information from the Kingswood Residents’ Association regarding the use of WhatsApp in relation to security.

One of the security measures which our recent survey showed to be of fairly universal interest was the formation of local WhatsApp Groups. We have been asked by residents how best to set up a Group for security purposes and set out below how this has already been achieved by local residents in at least one part of Kingswood: –

  1. Residents need to check with neighbours (and their local Neighbourhood Watch if they have one) to see if there is interest in forming a Group.
  2. If a number of people have expressed interest, firstly someone needs to agree to be the Administrator promoting the Group and adding new members.
  3. The Administrator should select a clear unmistakable name for the Group e.g. ALERT.
  4. Those who join the Group have to agree to adhere to a strict code of conduct-  When they post a message, it should always begin with the name of their house followed by a short alert message. e.g. Oakview House: A white van with three occupants driving suspiciously in the road. Police alerted. David. (The phone number of the person posting this alert will come up on the alert, but they should also leave their name.)
  5. It is essential that Group members agree never to use this WhatsApp Group for information exchange on other subjects, but to use other “one to one” WhatsApp for chatting or information exchange. This Group is reserved strictly for security issues only and if someone persists in using it for unrelated matters, the Administrator might ultimately be obliged to deselect them from the Group. The Administrator of the Group can add as many phone numbers to the Group as they judge viable to manage. Children’s phone numbers can be added too, as long as they also understand the importance of the strict code of conduct for this WhatsApp Group.
  6. Everyone in the Group is provided by the Administrator with a map of the houses in the Group with the names of the houses, so that if immediate assistance is required, everyone knows where the house is located in the road.
  7. As an additional facility, Group members could if they wish also provide their email addresses so that articles of general security interest could be circulated within the Group from time to time.
  8. Members might also decide to select a special ringtone for the WhatsApp Group, so that they will immediately be able to distinguish an urgent security alert from all other communications on their phone.

For anyone who has a smart phone, but is not used to downloading apps or setting special ringtones, clear instructions for various makes of phone are available on Google.

The Administrator for each Group would also hopefully be able to advise.

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