A police force has been ridiculed for releasing an iPhone app – which bares an uncanny resemblance to violent Grand Theft Auto computer games.
Northamptonshire Police’s PR team proudly unveiled the game, called ‘First Response’ on Thursday, January 10.
But they were soon left red-faced when gaming fans and bloggers began pointing out the similarities between the app and Grand Theft Auto (GTA) – one of the most violent computer games ever made.
In the popular video game series, players can kill police officers and steal squad cars as well as embark on other graphically violent missions – such as killing prostitutes and drug dealers.
The controversial games – which have sold millions of copies worldwide – have often sparked outrage due to their graphic content.
And while Northamptonshire Police’s version doesn’t contain any such scenes of ultra-violence, the appearance of the game is startlingly similar.
In the force’s version, users can drive a squad car around Northamptonshire Police HQ in time-trial races.
Amused gamers were quick to point out that the graphics and even the camera angles, mirror those of the earlier versions of the GTA series, which is made by Rockstar Games.
Birmingham gaming blogger Phil Cole said: “The game bares a striking resemblance to Grand Theft Auto – albeit an amateurish one.
“There’s not many games where you drive around in a police car and that was immediately what I thought when I first saw it.
“I’m not sure if that was the effect the force were going for baring in mind GTA is one of the most violent video games ever made.
“A few of my gaming buddies are very amused by it.”
Meanwhile, one Twitter user wrote: “Lol@Northants Police game – it looks a bit like GTA.”
While David Taylor quipped: “It looks like Rockstar’s standards have slipped – hope this isn’t the demo for the new GTA.”
Northamptonshire Police revealed the game was designed by one of their communications team.
Assistant Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “We are always trying to think of new and innovative ways in which we can engage with members of the public.
“The iPhone app is a bit of fun, but also allows people to get in touch with us through our other very popular online channels.
“The app has been developed internally by a member of the Corporate Communications team who has been working on this for some time, in his own time; it’s great to see such innovation within the force.”
The app is free to download from the iPhone App store and provides access to the force website, Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube page.