People calling 111 will now be automatically located

Police, emergency services and MBIE have launched a $12 million Emergency Caller Location system to identify the location of callers to 111.

Police call it "an absolute game changer".

The "Probable Caller Location" software is expected to make a huge difference to emergency response times.

There were over 843,000 calls to 111 in 2015/2016 and services responded to more than 149,000 emergency events.

"This automatically provides the probable caller location of anyone calling 111," said Police Minister Paula Bennett.

It's expected to be most effective for users of Android phones, the location technology on Apple devices is "still being worked through".

Police say 70 percent of callers use Android phones.

Androids will allow caller locations to be found within metres, while Apple locations will locate the nearest cellphone tower.

Ministers Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges said this should be used in addition to callers providing location information, not instead of.

"I'm a boatie and I won't be throwing out my flares or GPS", said Ms Bennett.

But police say the software won't be used to track offenders.

And there's strong buy-in from the Privacy Commissioner, according to Mr Bridges.

"All data will be deleted within 60 minutes."


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