What is the 888 emergency number and how will proposed new service work?

A NEW emergency phone number to protect lone women could be in operation by Christmas, it has been announced.

The "walk me home service" – which could potentially be reached through the number 888 – is being developed by BT, which has also run the 999 service since it was launched in 1937.

What is the 888 emergency number?

BT, which runs the existing 999 service, has submitted proposals for a mobile app that would allow people to have their journeys tracked, with an alert to make sure they have returned home.

And Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved the proposal for a tracking system for women, which came in response to public outrage over the murder of Sarah Everard.

Women would need to download an app and enter their home address, as well as their favourite destinations.

Before the journey, they would call or text 888, giving an estimate of how long it should take them to reach their destination.

How will it be used?

The phone's GPS system would then track their journey and trigger an alert if they failed to arrive in time.

If they feel threatened, women could also use the app to contact the police.

Based on the initial time estimate, the app would send a message to check if the user reached home.

A failure to respond would trigger calls to emergency contacts and then to the police.

When will it be introduced in the UK?

BT chief executive Philip Jansen said the app could cost £50 million and be ready by Christmas – but nothing is confirmed yet.

Ms Patel said: "This new phone line is exactly the kind of innovative scheme which would be good to get going as soon as we can. I’m now looking at it with my team and liaising with BT."

The proposal follows the kidnapping and murder of Ms Everard, who was killed by former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens.

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