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  1. ITV Report

Police use three words to find someone's exact location

The app divides the world into 3x3 metre squares. Credit: What3Words

Three simple words will be able to help police in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire find someone's exact location.

The 'What 3 Words' app divides the world into 3x3 metre squares and gives each one a unique three-word address.

The aim is to improve response times and ultimately save lives.

  • Click below for Liz Summers' report

Three simple words can act as coordinates, helping officers to find a caller's exact location by using a free mobile phone app.

Supt Nick Lyall, from Bedfordshire Police, said: "What3Words is a really quick way of finding those rural, remote locations and making sure we get our resources there as quickly as we possibly can.

"We've already had an example in Bedfordshire where it has been used to save a life, a man that tragically fell in the river. We were struggling to get an ambulance to him to provide the life saving first aid that he needed. The PCSO on the scene used What3Words to identify his location."

Police in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire will start using the app. Credit: ITV News Anglia

What3Words divides the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares. Each grid is given a unique three word address, for example - 'thinks, exact, issue'.

The coordinates link through to a GPS map, providing directions to the location.

But what if the caller doesn't have any data on their phone?

Geordie Palmer, from What3Words, said: "The app works offline so you can find the three word address of where you are without a data connection.

"If you don't have the app then what the forces do is send you an SMS with a link to the map site to find your location, in this scenario you would need data to get that three word address."

The app can pinpoint an exact location using three words. Credit: What3Words

The success of the app - here and elsewhere - relies on awareness and people using it.

Emergency services in our region believe it will have a positive impact.

David Lynch, from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "A lot of the time as a response, someone might say, well I'm half a mile away from this area.

"If someone uses the app they can give us the exact location which cuts down on seconds or even minutes where we can send out a response."