A custom-fit app for community policing

CORDIS: How does your app solve these problems?
: SecureU takes the needs of both the community and police into account, by providing a local “flavor” to each version of the app depending on where it is offered. Our research demonstrated that people desire more positive engagement with the police. Not only through increased visibility and interaction, but also with more police communication around issues that have a direct impact on their lives.

Our solution increases communication both ways, with a privacy-by-design approach respectful of national and EU regulations.

There are three main features. First, the police can send ‘alerts’ directly to the community, providing important information such as local events, traffic incidents and matters of public safety. Then, users can report selected quality of life and criminal incidents. Finally, the app provides various forms of municipal information and a link to make emergency calls if necessary.

CORDIS: How does it work exactly, from both the perspective of the user and officers?
: The users first download the app from Google Play or the App Store, then select a country, city and language. They are then presented with an intuitive interface allowing them to see the alerts that they have subscribed to, submit (and review previous) reports to the police and obtain information from important locations such as police, fire stations and hospitals. Users can register their personal information and share their location for ease of reporting –which is required in some locations – and in case of emergencies, which can be deleted or changed at any time.

For law enforcement, a web accessible dashboard provides several key features, the main ones being the creation, ranking and management of alerts; and the management of – and response to – reports from community members. All alerts, reports and emergencies are displayed on a map within the dashboard and can be exported to create reports for management and auditing purposes. The dashboard is easy to use, intuitive and can be used with minimal investment from participating agencies.

CORDIS: What are your hopes in terms of commercial success?
: First and most importantly, we intend to provide a seamless transition for existing users, that is, project participants and early adopters of the technology who have contributed greatly to its success. We want to ensure that upon the project’s conclusion, there is no noticeable change in service that both the user of the app and supporting police agencies have come to enjoy.

With that being said, we will have a structure in place before the project concludes, through which new organizations and communities can adopt the CITYCOP solution. This includes the development of a toolbox summarizing the results of our research, providing a framework for installation and reviewing best practices.

CORDIS: What do you still need to achieve before the end of the project?
: We are currently conducting our pilot runs in Bucharest, Florence, Lisbon, Dublin and Kildare. Before the project concludes, we will take the results of these pilots and prepare them for presentation at our final conference in Florence in April 2018.

Our goal is not only to review and celebrate the successful conclusion of CITYCOP, but also to host an event open to residents and law enforcement agencies from throughout Europe, promoting our efforts and informing those considering our solution for use within their own communities.