After two horrifying murder incidents, a top British government official expressed her support to a proposal from a phone company to use a tracking service app to protect women in times of distress.
Britain’s biggest phone company, BT, sent a letter to the UK Home Office proposing to the Government the use of their tracking service called Walk Me Home.
The app can be installed on a mobile phone and be activated when a woman senses any danger. When activated, the app automatically tracks her as she travels and sends an emergency alert to her registered emergency contacts.
UK Home Office confirmed the receipt of the letter and is expected to respond in due time. Responding to the Daily Mail interview, Home Secretary Priti Patel expressed her positive response to the proposal.
Patel said that the proposal was an “innovative scheme” that the Government would “like to get going as soon as we can.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman from the Home Office said that a “whole of society approach” is needed to address the scourge of violence against women and girls. She also said that a collaboration between Government and the private sector is most welcome.
The incidents that pushed the idea
On March 3, Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, went missing. Her dead body was found a week later. The perpetrator, Wayne Couzens, a police officer, pleaded guilty last July 9 of kidnapping and killing Everard, who was just walking back to her home from a friend’s house. He was convicted of murder and other charges and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Last September 17, Sabina Nessa, a 28-year old London primary school teacher, left her house to meet a friend in a pub at Kidbrooke Village Pegler’s Square. Unfortunately, she never made it to the pub. On the following day, her dead body was found a short distance from her house at Cator Park, Kidbrooke Park Road. A man was already arrested by police authorities and charged with murder.
BT chief executive Philip Jansen said in an interview with Daily Mail that the gruesome murders of Everard and Nessa precipitated the phone app idea. He explained that he reacted with “outrage and disgust” over the murders and realized that it isn’t safe for anyone in the UK to be walking alone.
Due to a collective outrage, Jansen and colleagues developed the “walk me home” service, a program they hope could be better improved with law enforcement on board. He also bared that the Walk Me Home service is not just for girls but all people who feel anxious about walking alone.
Once enforced, the walk me home service would complement 999, Britain’s nationwide emergency digits. However, the Walk Me Home service can be used through an installed app on a mobile phone, or the user can simply send a message or call 888 when in fear.
In the latest report by the Daily Mail, it appears that BT’s idea has secured approval from the Home Secretary and is expected to be running by Christmas.