…Greater transparency, accountability and real time information from policing teams…
SURREY, England – Monday 14th February 2011 – In a pioneering step for UK policing, Multizone Limited, an independent UK based social and mobile software specialist, announced today that it has secured a contract with Surrey Police, to develop a working demonstration of an interactive application for mobile phones that will enable improvements in communication between communities and neighbourhood policing teams.
The mobile application will be available in March 2011 and is to be piloted 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 antisocial behaviour and how to contact their local police team. Individuals 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, the real time network for public activity streams.
Police officers and authorised users, 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. The initiative with Multizone 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.
Angus Fox, Director of Multizone Limited commented, “Our work in social collaboration in private and public sector organisations has taught us that the technology itself is not the only issue blocking the widespread adoption of social media. We have spent time with the management teams at Surrey Police and front-line officers to ensure they understand the benefits of using social media to engage with the community and our software is designed to make that easier to do. Using Twitter to publish these activity streams means that we are connecting to the community exactly where they are – online!”