UK insurance company Legal & General is behind an iPhone/iPod touch app, which it hopes will reduce the number of personal attacks on men and women.

The Panic Alarm application sponsored by Legal & General is now available on iTunes, and provides several functions and features that can help should you find yourself in a threatening or dangerous situation.

Obviously, its primary feature is the alarm itself: As soon as the app starts, it displays a massive "Panic" button - tap on it, or shake the phone, and a shrieking screech emits, hopefully scaring away a mugger or worse, and attracting help from nearby passers-by. It stops when you retap the large on-screen button.

However, should the alarm continue, the app can be programmed to call a nominated SOS number automatically. There is also PIN protection that requires a four-digit number to be input before the stop button can be used (or the shrieking can end).

Pocket-lint has found a couple of caveats: Firstly, unlike a regular panic alarm which can be set off inside a bag, for instance, you have to start the app before it will work. And, even at its highest volume setting, the alarm wasn't as loud as a dedicated device.

But, it is free and should it help save even one person from an assault, it's worth it.