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New location app helps save people in danger near water

19 Jun 2019

A new hi-tech app which helps identify someone’s location has been used to help save two people who were in danger in and around water.

On Monday (17 June), officers from Bedfordshire Police, along with colleagues from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, used the What3Words app to pinpoint a woman in waist deep water.

In the early hours of the morning the woman slipped and ended up in a body of water near Bedford.

While speaking to the woman, officers were able to find her location through What3Words. The fire service then rescued her in under an hour.

Earlier this month, staff in Bedfordshire Police’s force contact centre also used the app to trace a teenage girl who had threatened to harm herself.

In this case, control room staff were able to message the girl and engage with her over What3Words to pinpoint her location near a body of water near Cranfield.

Officers were then able to find her and ensure she was safe.

The location technology used by What3Words has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares.

Each square has been allocated a unique three word address, which means anyone can refer to their exact location simply by using the three words.

Superintendent Nick Lyall, Bedfordshire Police’s lead for What3Words, said: “These cases demonstrate the enormous value this new technology can bring to policing and the safeguarding work we do every day.

“A huge amount of effort often goes into locating people in rural locations. What3Words can remove hours of police time from this process and allows officers to get back onto the frontline.

“The new technology enables us to get help to where it is needed, as quickly as possible. Every minute counts in an emergency so it could really help save lives.”

Group Commander Darren Cook, borough commander north at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “Technology like this is invaluable to us – it really helps us get to those who need us most, as quickly as possible, giving us the best chance to save lives.

“We would encourage the public to download the app, as you never know when you may need it.”

What3Words is free-to-use and available as an app and on the What3Words website. The new technology is integrated into the police's control room software which means the public can share their three word address when contacting the police.

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