First force goes live with ‘real-time’ video reporting

Gwent Police is the first force to pilot a pioneering smartphone solution that enables the public to stream live footage from the scene of an incident.

Nov 15, 2017
By Paul Jacques

Gwent Police is the first force to pilot a pioneering smartphone solution that enables the public to stream live footage from the scene of an incident.

Designed to provide officers with an accurate picture of an unfolding emergency, 999eye allows members of the public calling 999 or 101 with compatible mobile devices to either securely stream live footage or upload images of incidents to emergency service control rooms.

The first phase of the two-month pilot will focus on emergency 999 calls, with force control room (FCR) operators having the potential to use the service to obtain the additional information from an incident. Phase two will include both 999 and 101 calls and will begin at the end of this month.

Superintendent Ian Roberts, head of Gwent Police FCR, said it was “fantastic” that the force was “leading the way in piloting such an advanced piece of technology”.

“In addition to transforming the way 999 calls are dealt with, 999eye will also provide crucial evidence to support ongoing investigations, bringing significant benefits to officers, 999 callers and members of the public,” he added.

999eye has been developed by West Midlands Fire Service in collaboration with messaging solution company PageOne, part of the Secure Digital Solutions division of Capita.

It works by sending 999 or 101 callers a text message with a secure link that, once clicked, establishes a ‘live stream’ which allows footage or images to be sent directly to the control room.

999eye will also capture precise GPS (global positioning system) coordinates, helping to pinpoint the exact location of an incident. This will enable control staff to quickly establish the severity of an incident and then ensure that response crews have been safely and efficiently dispatched to locations with the information they need.

If the caller has low signal on their smartphone, photographs can be sent across the link instead.

Gwent Police says the secure link can be used only once and no footage is stored on the caller’s smartphone.

The service was originally developed and trialled by West Midlands Fire Service for fire-related incidents.

Chris Jones, chief executive officer of PageOne, said: “This is a groundbreaking solution that is already delivering benefits to blue light services and the general public. We are very pleased that Gwent Police has decided to take advantage of this technology and we look forward to the results of its pilot.

“999eye is simple and secure to use. It allows control room operators, who are under considerable time pressure to see the incident, helping them allocate the correct resources – in an emergency, saving time could save lives.

“The benefits that 999eye can bring to the police and other blue light services have already been recognised, with the solution winning a Product Innovation award at the BAPCO 2017 conference, for the product that has the greatest impact on public safety communications.”

Mr Jones says the live footage can also provide more “qualified information” to partner agencies to help manage the incident more effectively.

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