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Northamptonshire Police adopts mobile app to combat violence against women


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Flare Report app on smartphone
Image source: Flare Report

Northamptonshire Police has encouraged local women to download the Flare Report smartphone app to report any incidents or behaviour that make them feel unsafe.

It plans to use the data in building a clearer picture of any threats, identifying problem areas and taking preventative action.

The force emphasised that the app – which is also used by Gloucestershire Police – is not for reporting crimes in progress, but said it will check reports every day to make sure that nothing that needs an urgent response has been submitted.

The information, which is submitted anonymously, will enable it to identify places or venues where women feel unsafe.

Priority issue

Detective Superintendent Joe Banfield said: “Reducing violence against women and girls is a matter of priority for the force, so we really welcome the introduction of the new Flare Report app and encourage people to download it.

“If people use the app and tell us about incidents, the more we’ll be able to focus on and tackle the issues that are raised. We want women and girls in the county to live confidently, without feeling frightened, intimidated or harassed.

“We recognise that not everyone wants to formally report incidents like cat calling, unwanted touching and other forms of sexual harassment to the police. The Flare app provides an opportunity for them to tell us informally and anonymously about where incidents are occurring and the type of things that are making them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

“The data from the Flare app will hopefully show us what, where, and when inappropriate behaviours are occurring. It will help draw attention to venues or areas within the county that are problematic, or patterns of behaviour in particular places.  We can then concentrate our operational resources and activities to help keep people safe.” 

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I want Flare Report to boost women’s confidence and encourage them to report street harassment. And then I want us to be able to show the public what we have done about it.  This is the only way to start the conversation and put a line in the sand about the kind of behaviour we will accept in our society.”

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