Police want witnesses and victims to use their smartphones to live-stream crimes as they happen.
Chiefs at three constabularies are offering a multi-million-pound contract to any firm able to provide a workable system.
They hope it will allow footage of ongoing incidents to be sent to local stations, so officers can rapidly respond.
Critics last night branded the plan “nonsense” and raised fears it could put users in danger.
But the forces hope to start using the scheme next March and if successful it could be rolled out nationwide.
Former Met Police deputy commissioner Sir Craig Mackey, an expert in hight-tech policing, backs the plan.
He told the Sunday Mirror: “Most members of the public now are carrying phones capable of filming and there is a move to 5G which allows live streaming.”
He said the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire forces “should be applauded for looking at innovative ways to do things”.
But former murder detective Kevin Moore fears it could put witnesses at risk of being attacked and encourage some to put video nasties online.
Mr Moore, who worked for Sussex Police for 24 years, said he was “amazed three forces are willing to take it on”.
He added: “I wonder about why we’re asking people to do this.
“To me there are too many potential moral issues here to ask members of the public to film crimes in action. And I’m struggling to see how an officer can respond to an incident and be watching live video at the same time.
“It could also put the public in danger and we already have too many instances of the public taking videos of arrests and plastering them on social media.
“Will they now start putting videos of crimes taking place on there too?”
“To me it sounds like nonsense and another ludicrous hare-brained scheme.”
Mr Moore added: “Nothing will ever replace a bobby on the beat.
“You can’t get away from good old-fashioned police and detective work.”
But Sir Craig insisted: “You’ve got to look at the ethics and governance but policing is very aligned to those issues.
“Technology will continue to evolve and support policing.”
As well as streams, the system would allow users to upload video files, while providing officers with live location data.