Stephen Hammond MP: New app Hunch is 'a potentially powerful new tool' to reduce knife crime on our streets
London MP and former Minister Stephen Hammond writes about an app, launched this week by one of his constituents. He writes "Knife crime is something that affects us all in some way and it’s time we all responsibly got involved".
This year has seen the largest rise year on year in knife crime for London ever reported. This is unacceptable for anyone in office. So when a member of my constituency in Wimbledon, which I represent, contacted me with a proposal to help positively intervene, I arranged a meeting.
In response to calls from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, for the community to work with the police on knife crime, the community it appeared, had responded.
I was presented with a launch proposal for a new piece of technology designed to put power back in the hands of our communities. My constituent revealed to me a new smart phone app called ‘Hunch’, developed independently, and not for profit.
In essence it’s their gift to the public, allowing anyone to anonymously tag a location if they have a ‘Hunch’ trouble may be brewing, alerting others and potentially disrupting situations before they occur.
If you see something that doesn’t look right, you can warn everyone who has the app that they may want to temporarily avoid a location. I instantly saw the potential and my team are working with them to help bring it to Londoners attention.
Simple to use, free and anonymous, for the first time now we all have something that can harness the power of the crowd, giving authorities extra eyes and ears on the streets. Imagine our Met Police, downloading the app on their phones and receiving potential leads for investigation from the public, if they are on routine patrol. Lets be clear, this is not a reporting device. It’s not meant to replace calling 101 or 999 in an emergency but it does provide another, complimentary tool in the pursuit of peace on our streets, which has got to be a good thing.
Whilst the issue of knife crime is multi-faceted in its causality, and there are many initiatives the Conservative party have underway aimed at tackling those who carry knives, this is an something to harness the power of the other 99.9% of the public.
Knife crime is something that affects us all in some way and it’s time we all responsibly got involved. Hunch strikes me as a potentially powerful new tool that frustrated communities can use to help fight back.
This week, we launched the Hunch app in Westminster at an event attended by MPs whose own constituencies are troubled by knife crime and wish to help raise awareness of the tool. They now have all the promotional tools they need to rally their communities.
I would urge every Londoner to download the app from the Apple or Android app store, and if you have a Hunch, tap responsibly to help warn others.
For more information and download links go to www.hunchapp.co.uk
Together we can help make London a safer place.