Po­lice launch new app to tar­get fam­ily harm calls

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - KIRSTY LAWRENCE

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.

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