In the UK, there are trials of a Skype service that enables crime victims to speak to a police officer remotely through video chat.
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Police forces are often overstretched and have to balance neighborhood patrols with emergency situations and ongoing investigations. Now, officers of Peterborough in the UK are trialling a Skype service that enables members of the public to speak to the police remotely through video chat, rather than arranging a home visit, which can be very time consuming.
The service will be offered to those who dial 101 rather than the emergency number 999. It provides another communication option for victims of crimes and exists alongside other emergency response procedures. Police officers will still visit people’s homes if that is necessary, but it is hoped the Skype option will improve response times and enhance communication between law enforcement and the public.
Telephone and Skype appointments will provide flexibility for victims, with appointments available seven days a week from 8am-10pm. The initiative echoes similar movements in the health service, which enable patients access to health professionals via Skype and telemedicine platforms. What other public services could be enhanced through remote video technology?