Portsmouth City Council is offering women a tracking app called StaySafe Lone Worker.
Non-profit organisation Shaping Portsmouth is working with Portsmouth City Council to offer free licences to nightclubs and restaurants for an app called StaySafe Lone Worker.
The main aim of the app is to make women working in the hospitality sector in the city to feel safe amid a rise of sexual offences.
According to statistics, violence and sexual offences were higher than any other in January 2022, amounting to almost 400 crimes reported.
Hampshire Constabulary police force said there was an increase in sexual offences in Portsmouth in 2021, with 80 percent of reported sexual offences in Portsmouth involving a female victim.
Once downloaded, the StaySafe Lone Working app will be able to track the user’s movements and connect them to someone at a call centre while walking back home.
The user can log as soon as they leave their place of work and once again when they reach home, all the while being safely monitored by a control centre based in Milton Keynes.
If the person using the app feels unsafe at any point during their walk home, they will be instantly connected to the call centre handler to talk to while they walk, who will call the police should the situation escalate.
Stay Safe’s Project Leader, Sam McGrath, commented: “Previously spending 22 years working in the hospitality and events industry, safety for all employees late at night is a priority. Having said that, it has not always been that easy to control, as the logistics can be too much to manage. I am thrilled to be introduced to the Stay Safe Lone Worker App.
“Shaping Portsmouth wants to help overcome these challenges by supporting Portsmouth City Council and The Isle of Wight Council with the new ‘Stay Safe’ app pilot scheme.
It’s crucial everyone, including the 56% of women who make up the hospitality industry, feel safe, not only late at night.”
So far, more than 300 licences have been made available to women working in the hospitality sector in Portsmouth.
The CEO of Shaping Portsmouth, Stef Nienaltowski, said: “This is really worth businesses getting involved in. Not only will it help women feel safer but it sends a message to any potential predators. If they think a woman has this as protection it could deter them from following her or doing something.”
The app will be funded by the government and will remain free until March 2023.