Cambridgeshire police tool allows 999 callers to video stream incident via phone

Cambridgeshire Police says it is the first in the country to introduce technology that allows 999 callers to share a live video stream of an incident with call handlers on their smartphone.

The force said the move allows officers to get information from a scene faster than ever before and share it with other emergency services, helping to save time.

The force said that the technology could find alternative uses during the coronavirus outbreak, such as allowing officers to take statements remotely.

The technology, called GoodSAM, enables police to send a one-time text message link to individuals calling 999, allowing the caller to open up the camera on their smartphone and present their situation back to the call handlers and officers.

The caller does not need to install any application or special software on their phone in order to do this, the force said, adding that GoodSAM has been successfully trialled.

It has been introduced to deliver benefits to policing across the board, as well as creating some really exciting evidence gathering opportunities.

Footage is recorded on the platform, securing it for evidence.

The technology has already been used 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, police said.

In these types of incidents, the platform enables call handlers to assess the scene and helps them determine the right resources to send.

Inspector Hutton also said the tool could be used to take statements in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. He pointed out that officers could offer video consultations to victims and take statements if they are self-isolating.

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, police said.