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Warnings voiced over government’s emergency alert system

Domestic abuse victims have been urged to disable the system on any secret or secondary phones they use.

The West Midlands OPCC is among those warning domestic abuse victims to be aware of the government’s new alert system.

The system is designed to warn UK residents of major weather events or other threats to life, health or property nearby based on the devices current location – other countries including the UK, Canada and the Netherlands all use similar initiatives.

In one of such emergencies, mobile phones and tablets will receive automatic alerts with advice on how to stay safe.

Alerts can be sent either by emergency services, government bodies or other public bodies that deal with emergencies.

It would feature a loud siren sound and the device would vibrate – lasting for around 10 seconds.

On April 23, all 4G and 5G compatible phones will receive a test message – it will come through regardless of whether your phone is on silent or not.

Concerns have since been raised by domestic abuse charities, including Refuge and Women’s Aid, for victims who have devices that they conceal from their abusers. Advice has been issued for victims to ‘opt-out’ of the alerts system before the test.

West Midlands OPCC Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan said: “I know first-hand of many victims of domestic abuse who have a concealed phone as a lifeline, allowing them to keep in touch with friends and family or to be used in an emergency.

“While the emergency alert system is understandable, it is also vital we raise awareness that this can be switched off for those who need it.

“I urge anybody who has a concealed phone for their own safety to switch off these alerts.”

Opt Out iPhone:

Opt Out Android phones and tablets:

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