Daring.Lion.Race: The simple three-word app helping Suffolk police find people

PUBLISHED: 10:05 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 28 August 2019

Suffolk police has fully integrated a location app Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk police has fully integrated a location app Picture: ARCHANT


Three simple words will be able to help police in Suffolk find someone’s exact location after the force became one of the first in the UK to fully integrate a potentially life-saving app.

Sgt Brian Calver of the Rural and Wildlfe Crime Team in Suffolk   Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSSgt Brian Calver of the Rural and Wildlfe Crime Team in Suffolk Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

The 'What3Words' smartphone app divides the world into 3x3 metre squares and gives each one a unique three-word address.

This allows users to share their exact location using the three words and police believe the technology is "invaluable" in assisting officers to find people in distress.

Superintendent Matt Rose said: "After working with the developers of this app, Suffolk is one of the first forces nationally to fully integrate this potentially life-saving technology, giving our contact and control room and all frontline staff access.

"It can often be difficult to describe exactly where help is needed but What3Words overcomes this, allowing us to quickly identify and direct resources anywhere. For anyone with a smartphone, it's free and easy to use."

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The app is already being used across the force and Sergeant Brian Calver, of the rural policing team, said the technology has been an "invaluable tool" in remote locations.

"By having such accurate information, it cuts out ambiguity, mistranslation of an area and allows us to get to exactly where we need to be," he said.

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"This app can also be extremely useful for reporting incidents such as hare coursing and other forms of poaching, as well as night hawking.

"All of these crimes are carried out in remote rural areas where there may be no landmarks or road names to link them to."

The technology has also been linked into Suffolk police's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, which means people can now share their three-word address when contacting the police.

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Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, said: "The remoteness of some areas of our county can cause some uncertainty when it comes to locating people so anything we can do to clarify an exact position is definitely worth adopting.

"I am very pleased that Suffolk is at the forefront of using this app and I would encourage everyone to consider downloading the what3words app as you never know when you might need it."

Chris Sheldrick, chief executive and founder of What3Words, said: "Describing where things are in the countryside can get really complicated. "Growing up in rural Hertfordshire, I often had to wait by a roadside to flag down vehicles that would otherwise sail past our farm entrance.

"It troubles me to think that if an emergency had happened out in a barn, or if someone was caught in running machinery, we would have struggled to tell emergency services where help was needed fast enough to avoid extensive damage or fatalities.

"It's incredible to see forces like Suffolk embrace technology to respond effectively and quickly to people in need."

What3Words is free-to-use and is available as an app and on the developer's website. For more information, click here.

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