The service was launched today by Police Minister Judith Collins in Auckland and sees police equipped with new technology that enables texts to be received and responded to by their communications centres.
“The vast majority of New Zealanders take a lot of comfort from knowing that in an emergency, help from Police, fire or ambulance is just a three-digit phone number away,” Collins said. “Our deaf and hearing impaired community has, until now, had a more challenging time summoning help, particularly if they are not at home.
“Traditionally, they have used deaf faxes and tele-typewriter phones to contact emergency services. These are still used but are not ideal in today's mobile environment, as they rely on the person being at home if they have an emergency.”
Around 500 people have expressed an interest in using the service.