Priti Patel backs emergency phone service to protect women out on their own

By Will Maule

A phone service aimed at protecting women as they walk home has received the backing of the Home Secretary following the outcry caused by the murder of Sarah Everard.

A spokeswoman said the Home Office had received a letter from BT chief executive Philip Jansen proposing the emergency number be used to allow the vulnerable to have their journeys tracked and an alert triggered if they do not reach home in time.

“We have received the letter and will respond in due course,” the spokeswoman said.

“As set out in our strategy earlier this year, we need a whole of society approach to tackling Violence against Women and Girls and welcome joint working between the private sector and Government.”

The Daily Mail quoted Priti Patel as saying: “This new phone line is exactly the kind of innovative scheme which would be good to get going as soon as we can. I’m now looking at it with my team and liaising with BT.”

The telecommunications provider has run the 999 emergency number for 84 years.

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The Mail reported the new “walk me home” service could be in operation by Christmas, potentially with the number 888 and the ability to summon police.

Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens used his police issue handcuffs and warrant card to stage a fake arrest so he could kidnap 33-year-old Ms Everard before he raped and murdered her.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick on Friday announced that Baroness Casey of Blackstock would lead a review of culture and standards at the Metropolitan Police in the wake of the murder.

Dame Cressida said it was an “important step in our journey to rebuild public trust” which would scrutinise the force’s vetting, recruitment, leadership, training and “all manner of processes to see how they reinforce the best possible standards”.

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