As Christmas approaches, our Night Time Economy is picking-up, even in the face of the renewed threat from Covid. The urge to go out and see friends is strong. This has been a tough year for most of us, so letting our hair down a little seems a great idea.
Sadly, night time entertainment can bring the worst out in some people. Too often, women are subjected to inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment. When that happens, the vast majority of victims fail to report the offence to police. Perhaps because they think they will not be believed; because they are too embarrassed or simply want to forget the whole horrible experience. That is why we have developed a simple-to-use smart phone app – Flare report – to report these incidents anonymously.
The app is really easy to use and only takes a few seconds to report a range of offences, including inappropriate touching or comments, sexual harassment, being followed and spiked drinks. Collecting this information anonymously encourages victims to report such incidents to the police, making it easier to identify particular areas and clubs where these attacks are taking place.
Data collated from the app will be shared with our partners in order to prioritise actions that will make people feel safer. The Constabulary can then work with the Night Time Economy in ways to reduce the risks to women and focus on the perpetrators – like deploying extra resources to support clubs and bars, searching people on entry, conducting covert operations to spot offenders early and deploying mobile CCTVs to public areas as a visible deterrent. Street lighting improvements will also be informed by this app.
We also continue to work with the Hollie Gazzard Trust to promote their app, which helps to reduce the risks to females travelling alone or meeting people for the first time. That app can also act as a very effective personal alarm and can trigger an alert to the police.
This weekend I will be out with the Constabulary in support of Operation Nightingale, where officers will be out in force in the Night Time Economy to help promote Flare and a wide range of activities to tackle violence against women and girls. Please encourage your female friends and family to download Flare. You can find out how to save it to a smartphone here