People in China are downloading this app to video call the police… but the app doesn’t work yet
The killing of a second Didi carpool passenger has put Chinese internet users on edge. So now people are downloading an app that says you can video call the police -- but the app’s developer says you can’t actually do that yet.
On China’s iOS App Store, an app named Police 110 has been topping the free app charts for two days, after an article about local police departments enabling video calls in apps became popular on social media.
The article said that people can now directly make video calls to police officers in several major Chinese cities, and urged users to look up what apps their local government has to offer, though it did not specifically name the Police 110 app.
It’s an appealing concept for users, worried about their safety after two people were killed in the last four months while using Didi’s carpool service. Being able to video call the police would allow passengers to quickly show them the situation, send their current location -- or maybe even deter wrongdoers by showing them that the police are watching.
The Police 110 app’s home page says “Reporting to the police is entering the era of live streaming.” But the app’s developers told us that the feature doesn’t actually work yet.
Hebei Cangbing Shishang Technology, who was commissioned by provincial police to make the app, told us that they are still doing internal testing for the function and won’t officially roll it out until early next year.
They said they weren’t ready for the sudden burst of interest triggered by the Didi case. “We were suddenly made viral,” the spokesperson said.
One local police department pointed out on its Weibo account that there is one city that definitely allows video calling the police right now -- the eastern city of Yantai. The city’s police department offers a mini-program on WeChat that lets users connect with officers by video call.
Yantai police told a Chinese newspaper today that video calling can help officers quickly locate the scene and help deter a criminal from taking further action, and that the bureau has received more than 18,000 video calls since it was first rolled out in the beginning of this year.