Namola app

Cool factor ***
Usability *****

It will take more than just a nifty app to restore confidence in SA’s police force. But Namola, a new emergency response app, aims to use technology to improve the efficiency of police assistance — either when its users are victims of crime, or when they witness something that requires police assistance.

Once you’ve pushed the alert button, the app — available for Android and iOS smartphones — makes use of your phone’s built-in GPS to identify the closest response vehicle to your location and direct it to you. The response vehicle is then monitored by the control room during the call-out.

But can a security app help combat crime when the police service is hobbled by severe structural problems? Happily, the app enables users to bypass the problem-ridden police call centre (though it does let you auto-dial 10111 in areas it doesn’t currently cover).

It also bypasses stations, instead directing its response to vehicles.

A cool spin-off is that the app also collects data about police response, which should promote better policing.

According to Namola’s website, the app reduces the "average dispatch time" to a mere 13 seconds (compared with two minutes and 30 seconds from traditional dispatch methods).

Coverage is not yet nationwide, but users in Gauteng and Stellenbosch are part of the initial roll-out.

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