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Bedfordshire latest force to launch VAWG reporting app

The app, Flare, was developed and launched by Gloucestershire last year.

Women and girls in Bedfordshire will now be able to anonymously report incidents and threatening behaviour.

A new app, Flare, will provide a way for those subject to behaviours including cat-calling and drink spiking to pass intelligence on to the police. The force has emphasised, however, that any crimes that need an immediate response should be reported via the usual channels.

The data collated via the app will then be used by officers and local authority safety teams to target patrols and enforcement action.

It has been launched as part of the Safer Streets project and can be downloaded via the App store or Google Play. It is supposed to take less than a minute to submit a report.

It is not the only safety app available nationwide.

In April, Sussex launched ‘Safe Space Sussex’ in partnership with local businesses. It uses location data from a mobile phone number to direct someone towards the nearest safe space that is open. A trained member of staff at the location can then offer to call 999, 101 or a contact of their choice.

Meanwhile, in July, BTP launched reporting app ‘Railway Guardian’ which also allows for the submission of photos and videos. The app further has information pieces on topics including how to be an active bystander and links to support services.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dee Perkins, Bedfordshire Police’s lead for male violence against women and girls, said: “While this type of behaviour may not always meet the criminal threshold, we want to encourage people to speak up and report it in whatever way they feel most comfortable.

“We are launching this app during our 16 days of action campaign against domestic abuse, but our commitment to women’s safety lasts all year around.”

Bedfordshire PCC Festus Akinbusoye said: “I am hugely impressed by the relentless focus I see in policing and other agencies to keep women and girls in Bedfordshire safe.

“Part of this is understanding where this unacceptable behaviour is taking place and this new app is one of many ways you can report feeling unsafe so the police can take action.”

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