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Cambridgeshire Police first in the country to introduce live video streaming

Police in Cambridgeshire have adopted potentially life-saving video streaming technology to help them get information from the scene of an incident faster than ever before.

Following a successful trial of the app GoodSAM, members of the public and police officers are now able to share what they are seeing at the scene of an incident, via the video on their mobile phone.

The footage is recorded on the platform securing it for evidence and information gathering later. It can also be used with drones, meaning live feeds from the skies can be reviewed remotely by officers on the ground.

A mock up screen grab. (32044773)
A mock up screen grab. (32044773)

The main functionality of GoodSAM is its ability to send a one-time text message link to individuals calling 999, allowing the caller to open up the camera on their smart phone and present their situation back to the call handlers and officers. Crucially, the caller does not need to instal any application or special software on their phone in order to do this.

GoodSAM has already been particularly useful in distressing situations such as life-threatening road traffic collisions, when the caller is disorientated, unsure of their location and unable to explain the situation. In these types of incidents, the platform enables call handlers to complete tasks such as assessing the scene, and gather any additional information that will help determine the right resources to send. As well as video and location data being visible in the Force Control Room, live footage can very quickly be shared with partner agencies including ambulance, fire and highways ensuring that everyone that needs to view the scene is able to do so.

The aim of introducing this ground-breaking technology is not only to provide a better, tailored policing service to people in Cambridgeshire, but to also reduce demand on the force.

By understanding the situation on the ground and obtaining the exact location of the caller, the right number of response units will be sent out to an incident and less time is spent trying to locate the person in need of assistance.

The force has reported GoodSAM has also worked well in obtaining key information and evidence in disorder and violent incidents, as call handlers are able to identify offenders and victims on scene before officers arrive and log accurate descriptions. Live video from the scene also provides key evidence that can be used during criminal investigations, meaning more offenders can be bought to justice.

Inspector Chris Hutton, from the BCH Digital Innovation Team, said: “I believe we are the first police force in the country to use live video streaming technology in this way. It has been introduced to deliver benefits to policing across the board, as well as creating some really exciting evidence gathering opportunities.

“The ability for officers and members of the public to live stream has saved time and resources in a variety of scenarios, whether the officer is streaming to a vehicle recovery agent to ensure they send the correct vehicle to a scene, or streaming video from a burglary to scenes of crime officers to discuss forensic evidence.

“We have worked with GoodSAM for several months to develop a platform that is fit for use within our force, and its capabilities will now be explored and exploited further during the Covid-19 outbreak. The technology helps to improve efficiency and ensures we are making the best use of the resources available to us.

“There is also potential for GoodSAM to be used to take statements in light of the outbreak, meaning officers could offer video consultations to victims and take statements if they are self-isolating.”

More information on how the system may be used during the Covid-19 outbreak will follow.

To read further about the new technology, how your information is stored and to leave feedback on your thoughts, please visit www.cambs.police.uk/livevideo

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