We know the public want to play a part in helping to tackle violence, drug and other types of priority crime within their communities, and to help keep their neighbourhood safe.
Police see high-levels of engagement from the public on social media when we put out appeals to help find missing people for example; and from letters to the Commissioner, to offers of help over a cup of tea with the local neighbourhood officer, we often get asked “how can we help and what can we do to keep our communities safe?”, and the simple answer is a lot!
Passing on information either to the police, or to an independent organisation such as Crimestoppers, about crime or suspicious incidents can really help both prevent and detect crime and is something that we and our police colleagues up and down the country really encourage. You are our eyes and ears.
Helping police to locate “wanted” and outstanding high-harm suspects is also a really impactful way of making a real difference to your community, keeping not only your local neighbourhood safe but London as a whole.
Wanted people are individuals who are being searched for in connection with crime. They might be suspected of committing a specific crime, or they might have breached bail or probation conditions or not turned up for court and the police need to find them.
Whenever the police release someone’s name and photo, either a vulnerable missing person or someone wanted in connection with a crime, our actions have to be proportionate to the level of threat, risk or harm that we believe they might pose to either themselves or the public. We don’t release someone’s photo and personal details lightly.
In the case of a “wanted person” - this might mean they are suspected of having committed either very serious offences such as injuring someone, or of committing a large number of crimes – such as several burglaries for example.
Detective Superintendent Lee Hill, said: “The public can really play a very effective role in helping to locate wanted individuals. They might directly know them or know of them or even just spot them walking down the street. Either way, we want to hear about it. But we never want anyone to confront individuals or put themselves at risk. A phone call or email in private is the best way in which to help us.
“In addition to local policing and investigation teams, we also have central specialist units such as our fugitive teams, intelligence units and proactive task forces who will also assist or take on the task of finding particular suspects. They have a range of policing and investigative tactics that can locate people but information from the public remains invaluable and they provide quite a significant number of extra eyes and ears, so do get in touch.”
So how can you help? Take a look at the Met’s social media accounts or the Crimestoppers website. Do you recognise anyone? If you see a police wanted appeal in the future or someone featured on the BBC programme Crime Watch, then please consider if you are able to help. Do you know them or know of them? Do you know what car they drive, where they go regularly such as a shop, pub or club? If you don’t know them, are they perhaps thought to be in your area? Would you recognise them if you saw them on the street?
One phone call could help potentially solve or even prevent a crime from happening. You could help save lives.
If you see someone or you know the current location of someone who is wanted, please dial 999.
We know that not everyone is comfortable speaking directly to the police but if you do contact us with information about someone you think is involved in crime, or wanted by the police – your information is dealt with confidentially.
However, if you prefer, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers. They aren’t part of the police. They never ask your name and cannot trace your call or I.P address if you contact them online. All the information you pass on is anonymous and the police don’t get any information as to who or where it might have come from, and you could earn yourself a reward.
You can contact them via their website or by calling 0800 555 111.