MySAPS app

Cool factor 4/5
Usability 3/5
Value for money N/A

The SA Police Service (SAPS) launched its very own app late last year. MySAPS wants to empower citizens to "contribute to their own safety" and create a "safer society".

Its primary aim is to make it easier for citizens to locate police stations, but it also makes it possible to report crimes, which can be done anonymously.

The app is a welcome development, but the FM’s test — using an iPhone 11 Pro — suggests it is not a polished product. Upon launching the app, the SAPS logo was not optimised for the device — the result was a stretched and pixelated logo. That’s not a huge deal, but it didn’t make a great first impression.

Users can create a profile on the app, which I opted not to do. The app supports anonymous reporting via "submit tip-off", but there is no way of knowing if your details will indeed be kept anonymous. Nothing in the app explains how information is secured and protected.

And when you click on the option to report an incident — which could be drug related, corruption, or even fraud — the "report anonymously" function is turned off by default.

The app can locate your nearest police station. But if you do not give it location access, it will return an alphabetical list of every single police branch.

I gave it temporary location access, but even then, my nearest police station — in Gallo Manor, Joburg — did not appear on the map. I zoomed in, without luck.

Other functionality from the landing page includes the option to call Crime Stop in an emergency (10111), view your history of tip-offs, go into your profile, find the SAPS on social media, and access messages.

The MySAPS app is a step in the right direction, even if it does need more work. The addition of a panic button would be great.

It is free to download on iOS and Android, and is available for all feature phones. Data is required to access the app; it is not zero-rated, and at 85MB it is a large app.

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