Leeds City Council has bolstered its commitment to ensuring public safety within the city by teaming up with an online safety application.
The WalkSafe Leeds personal safety app is now available for free download via https://qrco.de/be9KlK. It offers a range of features aimed at helping people feel secure throughout the day and night.
While primarily designed for women and girls, it is accessible to all as a means of planning routes, informing friends of your current location, and locating the nearest assistance if necessary.
The live WalkSafe Leeds app includes the following functionalities:
WalkSafe: Enter your destination and share your route with your chosen friends. It provides an estimated time of arrival so your family and friends are aware of your expected arrival time.
HomeSafe: Share your route and estimated arrival time with friends and loved ones. This feature automatically notifies your loved ones if you do not reach your destination on time.
Friends: Add trusted friends to the app for easy communication about your whereabouts.
SOS: Hold down the SOS button to immediately alert your friends if you are in danger.
Reporting: Concerns or issues can be raised and reported anonymously using the available reporting tools.
The app also provides information about local support and available aid, including the locations of ‘Ask for Angela’ venues in Leeds, which now exceed 600 citywide. These locations are also visible on the online map at Ask for Angela – Women Friendly Leeds.
At these venues, anyone can utter the code word ‘Angela’ to staff to indicate they feel uneasy or are in a challenging situation and require assistance. Staff can then offer aid, such as calling a taxi or providing a secure space.
Additional support in Leeds is supplied by the city centre ‘Street Marshals’ who offer a highly visible presence during the night to maintain street safety and assist people in getting home. These marshals are accredited by the security industry, undergo rigorous training, and document any actions using body-worn video cameras to aid in preventing and de-escalating situations on the streets. They are connected to Business Against Crime in Leeds (Bacil) through a secure radio network and the council’s CCTV system, and they can request police assistance if necessary.
Every Saturday night in Leeds, the Women’s Night Safe Space operates between 10 pm and 3 am outside the Corn Exchange. This is a non-judgmental safe bus for women and girls to come to or be referred to if they feel anxious, unsafe, unwell, or vulnerable. Trained staff are available for support and advice, as well as providing water, refreshments, and warm drinks. Mobile phone charging facilities are also provided.
Leeds City Council executive member for resources with responsibility for Safer Leeds Councillor Debra Coupar said; “Everyone has the right to be safe in our city and to enjoy a fun night out in Leeds, and our work does not stop on continually looking at new ways to do everything we can to ensure that happens.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with WalkSafe as a modern new element in our support for people, helping them feel safe and supported with help available at their fingertips through their phone if they need it. Together with the range of other measures of support available the council and its partners remain firmly committed to keeping people safe at all times.”
Founder of WalkSafe Emma Kay said; “Here at WalkSafe are delighted to have partnered with Leeds City Council in developing and launching our new enhanced safe space icons. This enables women and marginalised groups to plan safer nights safe in the knowledge that they can find venues with safety initiatives in place and trained staff available.”
Efforts towards public safety in Leeds have received an additional boost through the recent introduction of the ‘Just Don’t’ campaign by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, aimed at addressing violence against women and girls in the broader region. For further information on this campaign, visit Just Don’t – West Yorkshire Combined Authority (westyorks-ca.gov.uk).