We’ve already seen FearSquare, which alerts UK Foursquare users to crime near venues they often visit, while there’s also a crime-mapping website that lets you compare efficiency across UK police forces.
Now, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is taking the lead on the fights against crime, with the UK’s first official location-based policing mobile phone app.
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GMPolice for iOS allows users to become virtual crimefighters and bridge the gap between the community and local police forces. The app taps a user’s location to help them find the nearest police station, including opening hours and full contact details, as well as see what’s happening around them, including ‘wanted’ suspect appeals, missing people and local meetings.
“This is a real step forwards in using technology to support policing and gives people the chance to help us at any time and any place,” says Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins. “They can find out what is happening where they are and be kept informed. It provides an enhanced service and we will be working on further developments. We want people to help us add to it with what will help them on a daily basis.”
Greater Manchester Police has been pretty proactive in its use of technology to connect with the local community in the past. Indeed, it scored a hit back in 2010 by tweeting every single 999 emergency call it received over a 24-hour period, as part of an experiment. And in the wake of the UK riots that kicked off initially in London in 2011 before spreading to other cities such as Manchester, GMP tweeted the names, dates of birth and addresses of looters.
As for this app, any public appeals also offer the option for users to provide key information through a form that’s channeled directly to the force’s intelligence teams.
“We rely on the information that we get from people to help us to solve crimes,” says Detective Superintendent Mark Smith. “The app is a great addition that means people can send details no matter where they are, and help us to target criminals.”
GMPolice is currently only available for iOS, but an Android version is in the works, with an expected spring launch.
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