Developed by the Vodafone Spain Foundation in collaboration with the Spanish Red Cross and the TecSOS Foundation, TecSOS is a handheld device which looks just like a mobile phone. We say looks just like a mobile phone, because it functions a little differently to your usual 21st century mobile.
Whilst the screen is fake, and the keypad is frozen, there is an activation button which once pressed, alerts the police. The police can then locate the device and an enhanced microphone records what happens next. These recordings, unlike most types of recording, are admissible in court.
The device is currently being used in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Ireland and the UK. The Vodafone website tells us:
“The handsets have been used by over 36,000 women across 6 European countries. In the UK, it is being used by over 50% of UK police forces with more than 7,000 victims benefiting from the increased security and protection provided by the service.”
For obvious reasons, not much is known about the scheme, but it seems the UK roll out comes with some special features. Each call made from one of these phones is escalated to an ‘immediate’ response time, so the police can get to the scene and prevent any further violence. The recording is also a powerful solution in itself for DV victims – any incriminating content can be used in court without the victim having to testify at the hearing.
You can catch testimonials of DV victims who have used the device to protect themselves, here.
Whilst we think this is a step forward, no doubt some of you will have concerns over possible fabrication of evidence, which may well be a possible deviation in what we feel is, overall, a force for good.