Hello from the other side: Mobile 111 calls report your position

A new caller location system for calls to 111 from mobile phone calls has already made a significant impact in the two months it has been up and running.

The system automatically provides emergency services with the probable location of a caller when they dial 111 from a mobile phone, enabling police, fire and ambulance services to respond more quickly.

“The new system has been vital in helping to identify the location of callers in instances where the caller hasn’t been able to speak, where the call has been cut off before the operator could get more information about the caller’s location or where the caller doesn’t know their exact whereabouts,” said Police Minister Paula Bennett today.

“The system has been used to get help to an injured person on a farm, a motorcycle crash victim, people who are distressed or potentially suicidal, people experiencing family violence, a person who had spotted a fire in a rural area, and people experiencing medical emergencies.”

Communications Minister Simon Bridges said it was “great” to hear how the system was helping emergency service providers improve public safety.

“This solution sees New Zealand leading the way in emergency response systems, alongside the United Kingdom and other European countries,” he said.

“Since the system was introduced, more than 145,000 genuine 111 calls have been made to emergency services and around 20 per cent of these calls involved operators using the system to help them get more accurate information about a caller’s location.”

The new system may provide a critical tool to help identify where mobile calls are coming from, it is still very important for people to tell emergency services operators where they are.

Privacy purists will not like the idea that “the government” can essentially tell where you are by checking where your mobile phone is.  But most of us have balanced that against the myriad of life improving services that location reporting brings to us.

The same service should be made available to other “emergency” services such as road-side assist calls and reporting problems with infrastructure such was water, gas or electricity mains.

Our telcos have already known where we are and we’ve just not really worried about that.  Given a warrant, this information is accessible by various government agencies, but that used to take too long in cases where time was critical.

Give the consumers an opt-in choice to also share their location with other parties.  The infrastructure is there.  It clearly works.


– NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.