Crime fighting app helps police find the location of chemical spillage in Littleport

Police save a life, stop a rave and find chemical spillage from new app. Picture: WHAT3WORDS/CAMBS POLICE

Police save a life, stop a rave and find chemical spillage from new app. Picture: WHAT3WORDS/CAMBS POLICE

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A new crime fighting app helped police find the exact location of workers in a mushroom tunnel in Littleport following a chemical spillage.

A number of workers at Littleport Mushroom Farm were taken to hospital after a chemical incident in August. Picture: GOOGLE EARTHA number of workers at Littleport Mushroom Farm were taken to hospital after a chemical incident in August. Picture: GOOGLE EARTH

Cambridgeshire Police started using the new app called What3Words in December last year.

The location technology has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares and allocated a unique three word address to each one which means anyone can refer to their exact location simply by using three words.

On August 20, officers were called to a chemical spillage in a mushroom tunnel in Littleport, where there were reports of people with respiratory problems.

Using What3Words officers were able to identify the exact location of the tunnel and share it with partner agencies.

The technology was the used again in April when to find the location of a woman who was feeling suicidal.

In April the force received a call from a woman who was feeling suicidal. She needed support but was unable to share her location.

Using What3Words officers were able to locate her and give her the support she needed.

It was also used to disperse people from attending a potential rave in Linton last month by finding the exact field it was set to take place.

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Officers from the Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) and farmers are also using the app daily to locate hare coursers across the county.

Demand Hub supervisor Rachael Sargeant who works in the contact centre, said: "Being able to identify a caller's exact location is incredibly important.

"When incidents are reported there is sometimes no easily identifiable landmark or postcode.

"Trying to establish exactly where these people are can result in valuable minutes being lost.

"Since its introduction we have been able to dispatch officers to precise locations whether that be a field, a long stretch of rural road or large buildings.

"In an emergency every second counts."

What3Words is free to use as an app available from the app store for both android and iOS.

It can also be accessed via the What3Words website.

The technology is integrated into the software used to record incidents, which means the public can share their three word address when contacting the police.

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