They added: “Our intention is for this to be a collaborative effort between government, telecommunications industry, key stakeholders such as the police and Ofcom and, of course, groups campaigning on the personal safety of women and other individuals.”
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Reacting to the proposed app last year, Jamie Klingler, co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Instead of spending £50 million on this new fandangled idea – which is really an old idea – 999 needs to work for us.”
Klingler said the fact it was still in development was “yet another way this government fails women.”
She told The Big Issue: “Creating a private system because the one that is in place isn’t good enough is laughable – especially when 888 could be used to track, stalk and further victimise women.
“Seeing how well track and trace went, I personally love the idea of undertrained incompetent men having my personal details and whereabouts.”
The Women’s Equality Party called the proposed service “just another thing for women to do to try to keep themselves safe,” saying that it was indicative of the government’s belief that it is women’s responsibility to avoid violence.
And Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner suggested instead of tracking women’s movements, “how about the government actually tackles male violence instead?”.
Following the criticism last year, Jansen appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme where he was asked about claims the app would not stop violence against women in the streets. He said: “No, I think it’s possible that if it’s known that people are using a triple eight service, that it will form some form of small deterrent.
“If it would stop one attack, one murder, one abduction, I think it’s worth it.”
When it was suggested the app would again put the onus on women to protect themselves rather than making an effort to stop male violence, he replied: “I completely agree with that and this is just one small idea which I think can help.”
Klingler says that neither she, nor Reclaim These Streets – the campaign group she co-founded to “make ‘text me when you get home’ a thing of the past” – had been contacted by BT or the Home Office regarding the project.
The Home Office declined to comment.