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A new app that helps South Africans alert the nearest police using their GPS-enabled smartphones has been launched by Ever Africa — which is headed by the likes of former Mxit CEO Alan Knott Craig Jr. It’s like Uber for police.
We’ve previously seen a couple of safety apps that attempt to tackle South Africa’s issue of crime in their own unique ways, with the main players being neighbourhood social network platforms OurHood and Spottm. However, an app that works directly with police is something we haven’t seen before.
For now Namola, as it’s called, will be piloted by the Tswane Metro Police who, like Uber’s affiliated drivers, are equipped with dashboard-mounted smartphones.
When in time of need, a Namola user can tap the “Get Armed Response” button, which will then alert the nearest three response vehicles. The first responder to indicate that they are available to assist is automatically directed to the requesting user using the GPS technology on the smartphone.
The user is also shown a photo and name of the responding vehicle, which they can contact directly via phone. Whether they can review them, we’re not entirely sure.
“The Namola app doesn’t create new infrastructure. It merely provides a new mechanism for the citizens of the City of Tshwane to alert nearby responders,” says Craig Rivett, partner in Ever Africa.
The pilot project will run in Monument Park, Tshwane until the 15 March 2015. When the user steps outside of the coverage area, the “Get Armed Response” button becomes a “Call Police” button, which just dials 10111.
“This pilot is the first step in understanding how this new technology can be used to make all in the City of Tshwane and South Africa safer,” adds the Chief of the Tshwane Metro Police, Steven Ngobeni.
You can download the app on Google Play. We’ve tried to test it out but it just hangs at the “Registering Device” prompt.
Image by Alan Cleaver via Flickr