Surrey Police launches new mobile phone app

Surrey Police is piloting a new interactive application for mobile phones designed to improve communication between communities and neighbourhood policing teams.

Mar 3, 2011
By Paul Jacques

Surrey Police is piloting a new interactive application for mobile phones designed to improve communication between communities and neighbourhood policing teams.

Surrey Police is set to become the first force in the UK to pilot an iPhone application that will enable users to engage with their neighbourhood teams. The mobile application will be trialled this month in Runnymede borough in Surrey with a view to a wider roll-out based on the feedback received. It will then be made available for free public download from the Google Android market and from the Apple iPhone App Store.

It will allow people to see detailed crime data where they are located combined with updates posted on Twitter showing police interventions in that place. This means that the crime data will, over time, be set in context with the intervention activity that happens.

Members of the public using the application will be able to find out in real-time how to get more involved in keeping their neighbourhood free from crime and anti-social behaviour and how to contact their local police team. They will be able to comment on the local policing updates, obtain details of upcoming beat meetings and rate the local teams’ neighbourhood priorities.

The comments and ratings will be displayed in the application via Twitter.

Police officers and other authorised personnel, such as community officers, using the application can update their activity stream by choosing what they are doing from a menu of common tasks.
This builds up a ‘tweet’ – a small burst of information – which is posted to Twitter with context about the location and the neighbourhood concerned. Anyone using a mobile phone or a web browser can listen, retrieve or openly comment.

People using Twitter as a way to get the latest information on their interests or locality will be able to see these activities just by checking what is going on nearby.

Chief Superintendent Gavin Stephens, head of neighbourhood policing for Surrey Police, commented: “The police are facing the challenge of providing higher quality service provisions for their community with diminished budgets. The adoption of technologies such as social media provides an excellent way to engage our local communities and provide greater transparency in what we do. It will also allow us to bring innovation at a fraction of traditional IT expenditure – and yet have instant impact in what we do.

“The mobile application will allow individuals to comment on what’s happening in their local area in the safety of their home. Over time, the application will help Surrey Police to build an accurate and interactive picture of local crimes and policing interventions in communities, giving people using it the information and contacts they need to take more effective local action.”

The software has built-in governance guidelines to ensure the correct use of language by police officers using the applications and delivers transparency in how crime is being addressed in neighbourhoods.

The application was developed by Multizone Limited, an independent UK-based social and mobile software specialist.

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