People are being encouraged to watch crime like a hawk online – with the help of a few feathered friends.

OWL, or Online Watch Link, is a new crimefighting network in Kirklees through which people can get direct email alerts about local incidents.

It means the police can communicate with groups such as Neighbourhood Watch schemes or individual members of the public at the click of a button.

Kirklees police joined forces with the Yorkshire Owl Experience at the weekend to launch the online tool.

The Wakefield-based centre had six owls on display on Nelson Mandela corner in Huddersfield town centre.

People can log onto the website to sign up to the facility, which has national police approval.

West Yorkshire Police Crime Prevention Officer Chris Joyce said: “OWL has been very popular when used elsewhere in West Yorkshire and we are very excited to be bringing it to Kirklees.

“What we are always seeking to do is give residents access to the information they need about the crime picture in their communities.

“(This is) to both keep them in the picture and help them safeguard their properties.

“OWL provides a fast and efficient way for us to communicate pertinent messages and crime alerts to communities across the area.

“Messages will be specific to ward areas, ensuring that residents that are registered on the system receive timely information and advice.

“It also allows users to become part of other existing schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch, Business Watch and Forecourt Watch to name just a few.”