Police launch new app to target family harm calls
A police app designed to help combat family violence matters is being touted as ‘‘world leading’’ by overseas forces.
The app, OnDuty Family Harm Investigation, has specific features for addressing family harm as part of New Zealand Police’s safer wha¯nau work programme.
It’s one of many changes made by the police as they try to tackle family violence.
Family harm cases – no longer referred to as ‘‘domestic’’ by police – account for 40 per cent of callouts, and 17 per cent of priority jobs.
The app, which launched on Thursday, includes risk assessment tools and a safety plan for all police attending a family harm incident and allows supervisors to provide support while the incident is taking place.
When using the app officers can bring up a detailed history about the house they are heading to, which can show a range of information including how many times police have been called there and what the outcomes of those call-outs were.
It means they will know more about the people involved and risks before they knock on the door, when previously they may have only had a snapshot of the situation from a radio dispatch.
Police head of mobility Superintendent Rob Cochrane showed Stuff how the app could be used and said other police agencies, including the FBI, had visited New Zealand to check it out.
Though the app started being used for family harm incidents on Thursday, Cochrane said it had already proved useful with traffic incidents.
Police staff can scan the barcodes of drivers’ licences and car registrations to bring up information stored about the person or vehicle.
It then brings up that person’s photo and any related warnings, charges, phone numbers and addresses. The car registration links to a picture of what the car should look like and a description.
The app has already lowered the error rate on tickets issued to motorists from 44 per cent to lower than 10 percent.
The safer wha¯nau work programme has been created to reduce harm caused to families through violence.
The programme has different branches that see police working with iwi, community and other agencies.