Telecommunications providers Digicel and Flow yesterday (January 26) endorsed the Stay Alert App, introduced by the Ministry of National Security as an important technological tool in the fight against crime.
Both companies agreed to preload the app on all devices being sold to their customers in Jamaica, and to also send text messages to existing customers encouraging them to download the app. The announcement was made at a press briefing held at the Ministry of National Security’s head office this morning.
Speaking at the press briefing, Minister Robert Montague lauded both organizations for their willingness to partner with the Ministry for the promotion of the app. He said, “We started with just about two thousand subscribers last February, and increased that to just over 40,000 users of the app in less than a year. With this partnership with Digicel and Flow we hope to push the numbers to over one million in short order. I want to congratulate both organizations for agreeing to preload the app and for making it available for free to their customers.”
Head of Digicel Business, Brian Bennett Easy in endorsing the Stay Alert App said, “More than ever we have observed that technology is being used in ways we never thought possible. We believe that the Stay Alert App is a major step in the right direction and ultimately it will provide our security forces with the information they need and our citizens with the peace of mind that the information provided will make a difference. Our mission is to ensure that all Smart phone android users have the app as a standard feature.”
The Stay Alert App was developed and launched in 2014. Since the renewed push, a number of smart phone users have downloaded and have used the app to send valuable information to the police or alert the police when in distress by pressing the panic button.
Highlighting the features of the App, Minister Montague stated, “The app has four components. It has a feature known as the Law which the ordinary Jamaican can use to become more familiar with Jamaican laws in a simple format. There is the Alerts feature which will give information on road blocks, flooding and other issues from the Jamaica Constabulary Force straight to the user’s phone. The Panic button is the special part of the app. To use it persons must input their phone numbers. Once the panic button is pressed it turns on the GPS locator and the police will give a call back to verify that the user is in distress. The fourth feature is I-report, which allows the user to send info anonymously to the police using text, video, and recording or by attaching a file”.
Speaking on the current success and usage of the app, Head of Product Support at FLOW, Troy Cockings shared an experience a member of staff had while using the app. He said “A staff member downloaded the app and pressed the panic button and within three minutes, there was police personnel at the FLOW office asking for the member of staff indicating that someone had pressed the Stay Alert Panic button and was in distress. It was a pleasant experience so the app actually works. Other security services cost in the thousands but the Stay Alerts app is free. Consider this your personal bodyguard”.
The National Security Minister called on all Jamaicans to use the app. “We have to begin to change the doctrine of National Security. It is not a problem just for the Police or the Ministry. It is a problem for everyone in Jamaica. Every Jamaican has a role to play. This will be the year of Jubilee for the Ministry of National Security. The Stay Alert App is the instrument that will bring together the network of good people and put in the hands of the ordinary Jamaican the necessary tool to combat crime. It is an excellent app all round and we encourage all Jamaicans to download it,” said Minister Montague.
CAPTION: Above:- Minister of National Security, Robert Montague (2nd left) and State Minister, Sen. Pearnel Charles Jr. with Head of Product Support at FLOW, Troy Cockings (left) and Head of Digicel Business, Brian Bennett Easy at the Stay Alert App press briefing