Coronavirus: Police will be told that they can use the NHS Kovid-19 app

By Rory Selan-Jones and Leo Kallian
Technology journalists

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  • Coronavirus epidemic

Police app

Image copyrightGetty Images / NHS

Police officers in England and Wales are told that they can download the NHS Kovid-19 app on their personal smartphones and use it at work.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) issued the guidance after conducting its technical review of the software.

Individual officers and other police employees will be informed on Wednesday.

The NPCC had previously advised officials not to download the app on any device while it reviewed its impact.

And they will still be told not to install it on the work handset.

These usually have their Bluetooth functionality disabled.

And the automated contact-tracing process relies on Bluetooth’s wireless signal.

A spokesperson for NPCC told BBC News that some personnel involved in clandestine and special operations, as well as other sensitive roles, would be asked to consider not installing the app on any phone until further guidance was issued. to be done.

“It is important that we are confident that the NHS app will continuously work for officers and employees across the country,” he said.

“And it is for this reason that we have recommended that officers and employees download the app in their personal, unlike their work devices.”

The NHS Kovid-19 was released to the wider public on Thursday, following several changes to the first test version.

This is followed by the release of similar software in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

‘Major part’

The NPCC was asked to change its policy by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), which represents about 120,000 officers.

It had appreciated that the NPCC wanted to be vigilant, it said, but the welfare of its members was “absolutely paramount”.

Media captionNote: How to Install NHS Kovid-19 App
“We see this app as a key part of a public campaign to prevent viruses with personal protection equipment (PPE), distancing and hand hygiene,”

John Epter, who presided over the federation, said.

“It is definitely a personal decision if the authorities want to download the app now.

“However, we will encourage and urge [them] to do this.”

NHS Kovid-19 is logged when two people’s phones come close to each other.

If later confirmed to be coronavirus, another may be asked to isolate itself for a fortnight.

The app is designed to keep the identity of both parties secret.

Other functions include a means for users to log in to restaurants and other vacation spots via a QR-barcode scan, and then receive a notification if the location is later connected to the outbreak.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that by 12:00 on Monday, the app had been downloaded more than 12.4 million times.

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