Surrey Police has introduced a free iPhone app, built using the Appcelerator Titanium development tool, which delivers local crime and policing information using open government data.
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Developed by Multizone, an independent UK-based social and mobile software specialist, the app enables people to see local information in real time without having to sign up to a website or search Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, or Facebook.
Surrey Police hopes the mobile app will encourage greater community engagement at very low cost, within a framework of governance and without wasting police time. It also aims to empower local residents to fight crime in a safe and monitored environment.
Chief superintendent Gavin Stephens, head of neighbourhood policing for Surrey Police said, "The application allows local residents to interact with Surrey Police in a variety of modern ways. It reduces the demand on emergency calls by providing one-click access to local-rate phone numbers, social and e-mail engagement mechanisms as well as crime reporting facilities from Crimestoppers."
Multizone director Angus Fox says the platform which the app uses 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."
The app presents users with the location and directions to the nearest police station plus local open police data and street-level crime data from the police API [application programming interface], which provides neighbourhood information.
Surrey Police is expected to roll out the app to Blackberry and Android smartphones in a future phase of the project.