Police tap into technology

Oak Bay Police Department posts QR codes to promote its website

A QR code sticker on the side of an Oak Bay police cruiser.

A QR code sticker on the side of an Oak Bay police cruiser.

They might look like funny little mazes popping up on a police post on Oak Bay Avenue in front of the municipal hall and on police vehicles in Oak Bay, but they’re just another way for police to reach out to the community.

“It started this past summer,” said Chief Const. Mark Fisher. “It’s just another way to get people to access our website.”

Oak Bay was one of the first departments in Canada to use QR codes. Fisher said most people have a basic understanding of the police service, but the website includes more detailed information.

“It helps people to become more aware of what we do. They can access news releases and other information – it just helps us reach another segment of the population,” he said.

The QR, or quick response, codes are like bar codes that are readable by many smartphones. The codes often take users to websites with additional information about products or services.

The Oak Bay Police Department is keen to use social media to promote education, communication and to enhance its visibility.

“More people in our community are online,” said Fisher. “All police departments are realizing that people are using web access and we have to keep current. Often that’s where people are getting their information.”