After a months’ long incubation period, Project Namola is finally live in the City of Tshwane.
The safety application went live and demonstrated faster response times for metro police vehicles in the Monument Park pilot in February 2015.
“With Namola, dispatch times take around 13 seconds — an 11 times improvement. All it takes is for a user to open the app, click the alert button and an officer to accept,” said Craig Rivett, CEO of implementation agent Happimo, a non-profit company.
The City of Tshwane decided to implement Namola across the metro following a successful pilot phase that reduced the average police response times of around two minutes.
Rivett said that 135 metro police vehicles have been equipped with tablets that allow responders to react to calls for help.
Unlike a traditional call centre, where language can be a barrier to details in an emergency, Namola uses GPS co-ordinates to map locations in partnership with Tshwane metro police department control room.
“When a citizen sends out an alert, the nearby Tshwane metro police officers are able to see the exact location of the incident. The first available officer is then directed to the incident while being monitored by the control room, which has the ability to intervene if necessary,” said Rivett.
“For the first time, operators are able to send images and messages, like a photo and description of a stolen vehicle or missing child, to the officers on the ground,” he added.
Namola is an evolution of the StellieSafe application piloted in Stellenbosch by former Mxit boss Alan Knott-Craig and with the support of mayor Conrad Sidego.
“Namola can be downloaded anywhere in South Africa, but it will only work in Tshwane. Only the Tshwane metro police have been integrated into the app thus far but there is nothing stopping other metros or Saps following Tshwane’s lead,” said Rivett.
Namola currently only operates on Android smartphones, but there are expansion plans for the application.