We can't say we saw this one coming but it had to happen sooner or later – the first UK police force to accept calls for help by text message is with us.

The force in question is the City of London Police and it has announced the new initiative mainly to help hearing- or speech-impaired residents, although anyone is welcome to use it.

Text-back receipt

Anyone in need of non-emergency police assistance is urged to send details to 07940 500 500, including their name and location as well as a brief outline of what's going on. The force then sends an SMS receipt indicating the message has been received.

The official release says: "We hope that people will find this service useful, particularly those who have hearing or speech difficulties."

Old technologies

Previously, deaf users had to rely on text-to-speech technologies, such as Typetalk or Textphone.

Given the City of London Police's beat, we expect officers to be deluged with text messages along the lines of "Help – my boss ate the pension fund" any day now.