Ska Train throws down the gauntlet to BT chief executive Philip Jansen and Home Secretary Priti Patel over new £50m app: ‘work with us, we already have an app and it’s called SafeStep!’

October 13, 2021

Shrewsbury, 13 October 2021 – Following the news of BT’s new phone app, development house Ska Train has thrown down the gauntlet to the company’s chief executive Philip Jansen and Home Secretary Priti Patel to join it in a cooperative venture.

SafeStep, designed in conjunction with the welfare team, staff and students at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS), part of the University of Chester, was launched earlier this summer. It is simple to use, non-invasive and most importantly is not a tracker. Users can add named contacts, create places and start a journey. If the person does not make it to the destination in the allotted time, the chosen next of kin or friend receives a text notification and a link to the user’s live location. Emergency services may be alerted by the named contact, but this does not happen automatically.

Vince Dovey, managing director, Ska Train, said: “We started work on this app prior to the first lockdown and since then we have seen a frightening increase in the number of people, particularly women, being attacked or harassed when travelling alone. The investment of £50M is obviously welcome but it must be said that our app is built and ready to go. For a significantly lower cost we could offer it to every student and university or college faculty member in the country and still leave substantial funds available to focus on programmes designed to educate men and young boys on how to behave towards and respect women and girls.

“The reasons behind these attacks are part of a wider societal problem and we are very aware that an app such as SafeStep is not a magic wand to wave and simply eradicate this violent misogyny, but along with a real focus on education, it can form part of a suite of government initiatives which seek to address this increasingly prevalent problem.  Care must be taken to ensure that the burden of responsibility is with the perpetrator rather than the victim. The infrastructure is in place, so I say to Philip Jansen, work with us, we already have an app and it’s called SafeStep! Partnership with BT would save the government a lot of money and the rollout could happen sooner rather than later.”

In response to comments made by Police Federation spokesperson Phill Matthews, Dovey continued: “SafeStep doesn’t involve the emergency services until it is absolutely necessary. We hope this will alleviate the potential increase in police forces’ workload and answer campaign groups’ concerns regarding possible auto tracking of women by untrustworthy male officers, thus encouraging take-up of the app.”

More information about SafeStep is available on the following website: