Surrey Police Launch Crime-Fighting App

Surrey-based software company Multizone has created an app for Surrey Police that allows the public to monitor and contact its police service. 

The app offers users the ability to follow Surrey Polices Twitter feeds, locate nearby police stations (anywhere in England), and openly rate what the police say theyre up to. It also allows users to contact the police with local-rate calls, emails, or social media. Photos and videos of the polices work are viewable via the app, too. 

The police service says the app will “encourage greater community engagement at very low cost, within a framework of governance and without wasting police time”. It also says it will empower local residents to fight crime in a safe and monitored environment. 

Chief Superintendent Gavin Stephens, head of neighbourhood policing for Surrey Police says: “The application has been tested extensively for compliance with the stringent requirements of Apples App Store. It reaches the bar we set for it of allowing local residents to interact with Surrey Police in a variety of modern ways, while reducing the demand on emergency calls by providing one-click access to local-rate phone numbers, social and email engagement mechanisms as well as crime reporting facilities from Crimestoppers.”

The app has been in testing with police officers and staff in Runnymede, Surrey since March. Vodafone and Huawei contributed to the project by providing low-cost Android phones for the trials. This avoided spending police money on procurement and new comms infrastructure, says Surrey Police. 

Angus Fox, director at Multizone says: “We facilitated a workshop at the start of the process to bring all the Surrey Police disciplines including operational policing, marketing communications, and information technology together. This was crucial in ensuring widespread support for the resulting software developed and was a necessary prerequisite for the adoption of the technology. The software platform is made up of several applications and services integrated using open social networks and data. These allow Surrey Police to be able to demonstrate the feasibility of community engagement with the public in a cost effective way.”

Fox says the app is also meant to make the police more accountable to the public. “The app will provide valuable data to the public as comparisons can be drawn by ward area, with breakdown of intervention activities against borough crime statistics,” he says. “A visualisation engine shows local police activity clustered on the map. We also added the ability to openly rate the local priorities set by Surrey Police or suggest alternatives. The comments and ratings are displayed openly via Twitter, the real-time network for public activity streams.”

The application is built using development platform Appcelerator Titanium. Multizone says it used this platform because it provides a professionally supported fully native, cross-platform development environment for native apps from a single codebase.

The app is currently available on iOS. You can download it here. BlackBerry and Android versions are due soon.