BT is still working on its controversial £50million app to protect women walking home and says talks with the Home Office are ongoing.
The 888 ‘Walk Me Home’ service was proposed in October following the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, which BT’s chief executive Philip Jansen said filled him with “outrage and disgust”.
The idea was criticised by politicians and women’s safety campaigners, who said it focused on protecting women rather than tackling the root causes of violence against women, and that such apps already existed. Jansen defended the idea, saying it could act as a “small deterrent”.
And it had another supporter in home secretary Priti Patel, who told the Daily Mail in October it was “exactly the kind of innovative scheme which would be good to get going as soon as we can”. She added: “I’m now looking at it with my team and liaising with BT.”
The app, which original proposals estimated could be ready by Christmas, would reportedly allow users to opt in to a GPS tracking system that would trigger an alert to a fast responder team if they did not reach their destination on time.
A BT spokesperson told The Big Issue: “Our technical development teams are now working on developing proposals and we will continue to discuss this with the Home Office.”