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Best Awards: NZ Police Family Harm App by Smudge

Public Good Award Purple Pin

NZ Police Family Harm App by Smudge

Creative directors: Reuben Bijl, Toby Vincent

Client: New Zealand Police

The statistics, as many of us know, are nothing short of horrifying. Half of all violent crime in New Zealand is domestic violence-related. At present, dealing with domestic violence-related events accounts for an estimated 40 percent of frontline police time.

NZ Police Family Harm App is meant to help ease the burden – for everyone. In short, the app replaces a 13-page paper form – a form that used to take offices a minimum of one hour to complete. In other words, with more than 121,000 family harm situations occurring in New Zealand each year, the app saved more than 1.5 million pages of paperwork overnight. Not to mention saved countless hours – hours that are precious in keeping people safe and solving crimes.

Aside from saving time, the app also connects to the national intelligence database and gives frontline police officers useful information, such as historical events and crimes that might have occurred at the same location, providing officers valuable background context, such as if police have responded to domestic violence situations at the same address in the past.

There are other features, too. Using a locked-down mode within the app, survivors of domestic violence can give attending officers information without saying a word – even when they don’t speak the same language.

Hailed by press as “world-leading,” the app was launched in May 2018. In creating the app, developers spent hundreds of hours shadowing frontline police in towns and cities all throughout Aotearoa, to better understand their needs and further emphasising the importance of such an app in making communities safer.

In awarding the NZ Police Family Harm App the Purple Pin, the judges said, “This project demonstrated a strong design cycle with intensive user research and testing. Reducing the potential for harm to vulnerable citizens and streamlining processes at the same time is an absolute win-win technology for the community.”

And some police seem to agree. Superintendent Rob Cochrane, who’s director of mobility and innovation and acting CIO of New Zealand Police said: “The end result is we have more police out and about, they’re more visible and spending less time at the station. This is making a difference for all of New Zealand.”

Another prime example of the ways in which technology can be used to make the world a better place – starting with our communities and places of residence.

Review overview