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New eyewitness app makes it easier for Londoners to report hate crime

The eyewitness app has launched so that those "too afraid" to report hate crime can do so quickly and anonymously

The new app is free to download for iOS and Android devices

A new mobile phone app which allows people to report hate crime has been launched by an entrepreneur who suffered abuse while growing up in west London.

Mahtab Khan, 51, is the creator behind the new reporting tool eyewitness in the hope that it will make it easier for people to report antisocial behaviour and hate crime.

Users who download the free eyewitness app can photograph, video or record an incident to send to the relevant police force in a few taps, as well as share the location of where it's taking place.

The launch coincides with National Hate Crime Awareness Week which continues until October 17.

According to research carried out by the developers, 70% of Londoners have witnessed antisocial behaviour in the last year.

Nearly a third of Londoners came across hate crime, although nearly 80% said they did not get involved or report it.

Two of the reasons identified for not reporting the incidents was witnesses claiming they are too afraid to report it and they were not fast enough to take a photograph.

Mr Khan said: "The results of our survey highlight the unfortunate prevalence of antisocial behaviour and hate crime in today's society.

"These are really both UK-wide phenomena."

He added: "While it's sad that 70% admitted to doing nothing let's remember that these people might not have been in a safe position to report what they saw.

"We've launched the eyewitness app specifically as a purpose-built tool for the safe reporting of hate crime and antisocial behaviour and I sincerely hope the app will make it easier for bystanders to report crimes of this nature in the future."

While growing up in Feltham, Mr Khan, of Pakistani descent, said it was commonplace in the '70s to experience his parents receiving vicious racist abuse.

Name-calling and even posts of dog excrement through their letter boxes was something he had witnessed repeatedly.

He resolved to do something to help the victims after being reminded of his own experiences.

The app, which is the result of a collaboration between Mr Khan and the Trinity Mirror New Businesses Division, also features colour-coded icons to simplify use for partially-sighted people and speakers of English as a second language.

This has been added to help the two groups who statistically suffer more often from harassment in UK to report on crimes.

The app is available to download for free on Android here, and iOS here.

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