Amazon Alexa users can sign up to receive the latest news and information from the Lancashire constabulary directly to their smart speaker.

The free skill – available from the Amazon store - taps into the latest technology to give users hourly updates about what is happening in their communities.

It also sends pictures of wanted and missing people to the user’s smart device.

The project is the brainchild of PC Rob Flanagan, Lancashire Constabulary’s innovations manager, who has worked with developers from Amazon to bring the idea to life.

“As a police force we are always looking at ways to engage with our communities,” he said.

“Alexa works alongside traditional policing methods to inform the public about the important issues in their neighbourhoods.

“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.”

Lancashire Constabulary is the first police force in the UK to utilise smart speaker technology to engage with the community.

The Alexa launch coincides with a recruitment drive which will see around 200 new police officers sworn in to front line policing duties across the county in 2018/19.

“As the technology takes off we will look at different ways we can use Alexa to support our policing priorities,” said Flanagan.

“It is still very much in its infancy but we are looking forward to exploring the ways in which we can use this technology in the communities we serve.”