Broadgate image by British Land and GIC

New App Using Crowd to Spot and Report Suspicious Behavior to be Used in London

A new app to keep people safe in crowded places will be used at a major London location, after an award of almost £250,000 from the UK government.

The app, called The Krowd, is the first project to be launched publicly under a scheme set up in response to the terror attacks in 2017.

The Improving Crowd Resilience competition (ICR) was launched in July 2017 and forms part of the government’s efforts to encourage the private sector to help tackle the security challenges facing the UK.

The social-engagement app, created by Devon-based developers KrowdThink, allows people in crowded places to speak directly with on-site security teams, allowing visitors to report suspicious activity or potential threats in real-time using their phones. Images are then sent instantly from the crowd and can assist the security team to assess a threat.

Transforming the crowd into a ‘virtual sensor’ also has a strong deterrent effect on terrorists. Instead of a terrorist focusing on finding surveillance camera blackspots and security guard patrol gaps, they now need to worry that anyone with a smartphone using the Krowd could be reporting their suspicions.

In the first example of an ICR funded project reaching market, the Krowd App will be used at Broadgate Quarter in central London. The area includes offices, retail and dining establishments and is close to one of London’s busiest rail stations.

The Krowd App was one of several which shared £1 million funding as part of the Defence and Security Accelerator facilitated ICR programme announced in the weeks following the London Bridge terror attacks.

Geoff Revill, KrowdThink Managing Director said that the funding and support from the Defence and Security Accelerator and the Home Office has provided expert insight, significantly accelerating the company’s ability to move forward commercially.

Using the app’s venue mapping feature, security staff can locate the perceived threat and rapidly direct staff to the situation. The app can also allow security staff to message the people at a venue directly, guiding them to safety.

Members of the public are a valuable tool in security and law enforcement operations, particularly in crowded places where officers cannot be everywhere at once and even surveillance systems may miss something that a member of the public may notice as suspicious.

The Krowd app takes the “if you see something, say something” ethos to a new level, and significantly speeds up the process of informing on-site personnel. It also enables facilities management and event operators to invest in public safety without a high cost barrier.

The app will be available for the public to use in the coming weeks.

Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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