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New technology helps police forces locate people in need

2 Apr 2019

Police officers across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (BCH) police forces are using a new app to help pinpoint people in need. 

The location technology called What3Words has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares. Each square has been allocated a unique three word address which means anyone can refer to their exact location simply by using three words.

Supt Nick Lyall, BCH lead for the What3Words rollout, said: “Being able to identify a caller’s exact location is incredibly important. When incidents are reported there is sometimes no easily identifiable landmark or postcode. Trying to establish exactly where these people are can result in valuable minutes being lost.

“With What3Words we can quickly pinpoint where that caller is within a 3m x 3m square. This means that no matter where they are – be it in a field, on a stretch of waterway or in a tent at a festival – we can dispatch an officer to their precise location.

“It can also be beneficial in large buildings such as stadia, universities and airports which may have one postcode but multiple entry points.

“The new technology enables us to get help to where it is needed as quickly as possible. Every minute counts in an emergency so it could really help save lives.”

What3words recently helped the police quickly locate a man who was in the Great River Ouse, Bedfordshire. As a result, the police were able to ensure he received medical attention as swiftly as possible.

What3Words is free-to-use and available as an app and on the What3Words website. The new technology is integrated into the three forces’ control room software which means the public can share their three word address when contacting the police.


For more information about the three forces’ uptake of What3Words please contact Louise Lloyd-Jones, Senior Communications Officer, on 07710 966583 or email:

For more information about What3Words, please contact Miriam Frank on 07950 829 125 or email

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