The second version of Kick It Out’s reporting app provides users with the ability to attach video, photo and audio evidence to complaints to help support investigations into discriminatory abuse and behaviour across football.
The free app, of which the first version was released in July 2013, allows users to confidentially report incidents they may see, hear or witness at a match. The app was developed by makepositive, a cloud technology firm specialising in Salesforce, and covers over 95% of smartphones.
The second version of the app has focused on gathering more conclusive evidence for investigations with new functionality allowing media to be attached to reports. A very significant new addition to the app is the option to report incidents of football-related hate crime on social media platforms.
This comes after Kick It Out revealed 50% of complaints it received for the 2013/14 season related to social media abuse, and research commissioned by the organisation in April 2015 also estimated an abusive post was directed at a Premier League player or club once every 2.6 minutes.
The new version of the app also allows complainants to shield their identifying information from professional clubs and the football authorities by clicking the ‘remain anonymous’ button contained within the reporting form. Women’s Super League clubs have also been included in this version.
Steps have also been taken to make reporting grassroots and non-league incidents more user-friendly. Selecting grassroots and non-league comes at the very top of the reporting form and there are now less entry fields making complaints clearer and more concise.
The first release of the app built upon well-established methods of reporting, including via email and freephone, and was a huge success with 38% of all complaints from the professional game in 2013/14 coming via the app as part of an overall 269% increase in reports made to Kick It Out.
The latest set of statistics from Kick It Out for the 2014/15 season shows 36% of reports registered in relation to the professional game came via the app - making it the most-used mechanism for registering complaints at that level.
Usage of the app has increased by 59% between the 2013/14 season (34 complaints) and the 2014/15 campaign (54 complaints) with the reporting tool becoming one of the most prominent and well-known forms of registering a complaint.
Anna Jӧnsson, Kick It Out’s Reporting Officer, said: “As the only dedicated Reporting Officer at Kick It Out, it’s my job to handle a growing number of complaints and liaise with all parties involved. The new app not only makes it easier to do so, but will encourage more people to come forward and add their voice to the increasing numbers who want to actively remove discrimination from football.
“In a perfect world, no-one would need to use our app, but with people having it in their pocket at all levels of football, we hope they will feel empowered. The new version of the app addresses some key issues and is a crucial aspect of our work towards making football open and inclusive for all.”
Mark Richards, CEO, makepositive, said: “The team at Kick It Out perform a vital role in society tackling discrimination – and we are grateful for the opportunity to support them. Technology is emerging as a key tool in accelerating societal and cultural changes and the latest version of the Kick It Out app takes advantage of the full power of the users devices to supplement the reporting process.
“We are very pleased with the impact the app has made so far and look forward to supporting Kick It Out in the future as they continue to address this important issue.”