As Priti Patel and BT engage in talks about a mobile app to track women walking home at night, we’re gathering to say that the surveillance state doesn’t make us safer.
The proposed £50m app will track a user’s movements and require them to send a message to confirm they are home. A failure to respond will lead to a call to the police.
Sarah Everard was killed by a serving police officer, Wayne Couzens, who used his position to intimidate her into getting into his car. Digitally spying on women walking home at night further strengthens the power of officers like Couzens.
Sixteen women have been killed by a police officer since 2009, and one woman every week comes forward to report a serving officer for domestic or sexual violence.
More surveillance and increased police powers don’t make our communities safer. Just as the institutionalised misogyny of the police force has been laid bare in the wake of the Sarah Everard case, Patel continues to push ahead with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which hands unprecedented powers to the police. As feminists, we add our voices to those speaking out against this Bill, which will disproportionately affect racialised and other marginalised communities.
Rather than hand over £50m to a private company profiting from women’s fear, the government should give the money to underfunded domestic violence services, women’s refuges and community organisations.
Join Feminist Fightback at BT’s headquarters (81 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7AJ) at 4pm on 10 October to demand that the police, not women, account for their actions.