• Flare, the anonymous reporting app which enables people – especially women and girls – to share where they have felt unsafe in public has been downloaded nearly 2,000 times
  • Reports range from being stared at to sexual assaults
  • Nick Evans, Gloucestershire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner said, “I would urge anyone who feels they would benefit from this free app to download it, and with every flare they send up, they can help us make Gloucestershire safer for women and girls.”
  • Assistant Chief Constable Rhiannon Kirk, the Constabulary’s lead for Violence and Intimidation Against Women and Girls, said: “The more information we have on the everyday violence and intimidation women suffer, the more we can target our policing approach and help make women feel safer”.

Three months of the Flare app has seen an increase in reports and patrols.

Reports range from being stared at to sexual assaults.

Flare, the anonymous reporting app, was launched in Gloucestershire three months ago and officers have since been increasing patrols and conversations in the community following reports.

The app, which has been downloaded nearly 2000 times, has received numerous reports at various locations in the county, ranging from being stared at to serious sexual assault.

The Flare app, created by Safer Gloucestershire, enables people, especially women and girls to anonymously share their experiences of how and where they have felt unsafe in public. It is anonymous, free to download and quick to use.

Police noticed reports coming from a popular dog walking area

Nick Evans, Gloucestershire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I attended launch events for Flare around the county and heard countless stories of intimidation, spiking, and harassment. The women I spoke to told me they encounter these issues so regularly, that they didn’t believe it was worth reporting.

“Seeing more people download and use the app shows us that belief is starting to change.

“Gloucestershire Constabulary wants to hear about these incidents, and as a county we want to see cultural change so that women and girls no longer have to adapt their own behaviour to protect themselves from street harassment.

“I would urge anyone who feels they would benefit from this free app to download it, and with every flare they send up, they can help us make Gloucestershire safer for women and girls.”

Police noticed a number of reports coming from a popular dog walking area, as a result public engagement patrols were carried out by Neighbourhood Policing Teams in the area.

A number of Flare reports were received in close proximity to a University, the Flare team worked in partnership with the Safeguarding lead at the University to remind students of appropriate behaviours, safety, as well as the support available to them.

The app is available to anyone and allows the user to anonymously report to police and partner agencies when and where they feel unsafe.

From street harassment like being stared at or catcalled all the way through to drink spiking and sexual touching – all can be reported through Flare.

“We take these types of crimes very seriously”

Flare was created to encourage the reporting of a range of behaviours and incidents which often go unreported to policeincluding sexual comments made in public, catcalling, stalking, upskirting and more.

The data being collected through the app will continue to be used to make Gloucestershire safer.

Assistant Chief Constable Rhiannon Kirk, the Constabulary’s lead for Violence and Intimidation Against Women and Girls, said: “We are really pleased to hear all the positive feedback we have received from people using the app.

“Particularly women and young girls have said what a great idea they think the app is.

“The app has been downloaded to almost 2000 phones in the county and reporting is coming in steadily about a range of incidents all of which we are keen to hear about.

“The more information we have on the everyday violence and intimidation women suffer, the more we can target our policing approach and help make women feel safer – and remind any offenders that we take these types of crimes very seriously.

“We’re finding out about incidents that never before would have been reported to police. We’re grateful to every person who has downloaded the app and sent off a flare, we are listening”

The Flare app can be downloaded onto a smartphone by visiting http://www.flarereport.co.uk.

Flare is not a means for reporting crime and this can be done by the usual channels of calling 999 in the case of an emergency, or phoning 101 or online for non-emergency crimes at https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/soh/seen-or-heard/