Residents and visitors to Bradford can feel safer when walking around the city centre, with the release of the new WalkSafe app.
The Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) has teamed up with WalkSafe to become the first city anywhere to introduce the free phone app that gives users the power to be in control of their own safety.
A commitment to supporting public safety is the driver behind the launch of the innovative new app that is available now to download for free.
Jonny Noble, manager of Bradford BID says: “We know that Bradford’s night-time economy has so much to offer, and we also know public safety is a concern for those coming into the city centre in the evening. The launch of the WalkSafe app is just one of the long line of actions and changes we are doing with Bradford at Night and our members to make Bradford centre a thriving, safe space for people to enjoy.”
The app enables users to pick safer routes home as well as share them with family and friends so they can monitor their safe arrival, sending automatic alerts if they fail to reach their destination.
The WalkSafe+ app also shows the location of safe space premises and the live location of the city’s Street Angels and the Evening and Night Marshalls.
Elizabeth Murphy, manager of Bradford at Night adds: “We have over 30 vendors, including bars, pubs and hotels identified on the city centre map that have really got behind this initiative. These are designated ‘safe spaces’ that have undergone additional training and support. Any member of the public can go into one of those venues if they ever feel unsafe and speak to a member of staff who has been trained to help.”
The launch of the app is being funded by Bradford BID and Bradford at Night with the support of the Safer Streets Fund, co-ordinated by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, which aims to tackle violence against women and girls.
Alison Lowe OBE, West Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, joined members of the BID and Bradford at Night to launch the app to the public on Friday evening. Ms Lowe, who is also patron of Bradford at Night said:
“The WalkSafe App is another step in the right direction in our ambitions to make West Yorkshire safe, just and inclusive.
“The fact that it connects all our existing efforts to keep people safe is a fantastic innovation and one that I really welcome. Crucially, it contributes to our partnership priorities around the safety of women and girls, as we know they can be disproportionately affected when it comes to associated crimes.”
WalkSafe is founded by 34-year-old Emma Kay, a daughter of a Metropolitan Police officer, who was subject to many rules to keep her and her siblings stay safe when out and about, yet still experienced catcalling, following, groping and flashing – common occurrences by many women across the world.
Kay says: “I’m thrilled that Bradford is the first ever WalkSafe city in the world. My passion for creating the app stems from empowering people with something they can control and use for their own safety. Together with the Bradford BID team, Bradford at Night and the vendors, we believe our partnership will provide the tools to keep the town a safe and welcoming city for all.”
Whilst statistically most attacks happen against women, the WalkSafe+ has been designed to make everyone and anyone feel that they have access to necessary information so they can make their own choices for their own personal safety. Its key features include:
• WalkSafe – Users type in their destination and share their route with selected friends. They can include an estimated time of arrival so family and friends know when they should arrive. It also includes information as to what crime has happened around them on their selected route.
• HomeSafe – After sharing their route and estimated time of arrival with friends and loved ones, this feature will automatically alert them if the user fails to arrive at their destination on time.
• Friends – Users can add trusted friends to the WalkSafe+ app so they can easily let them know where they are at any time.
• SOS – If users hold down the SOS button on the WalkSafe+ map it will alert their friends immediately that the user is in danger.
The app is available now to download for android and apple devices.