Members of the public who need to report a crime in London can now do so online thanks to a new service officially launched today by the Metropolitan Police Service.
The service allows people to report crime via the Met Police website using a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or computer when and where it is convenient for them.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons said: “It is important the Met moves with the times and we know more and more people want the ability to report crime online in a place and at a time that suits them. Over the last six months we have seen 51,000 crimes or incidents reported online to the Met and this is growing by the day.
“The process has been made as simple and easy as possible. The public are taken through a series of online steps to make their report and the very first question asks them if this is in fact an emergency. We do not want people to report emergencies online; they should continue to call 999 in the normal way and police officers will respond.
“However, online reporting is a very easy alternative to calling our non-emergency number 101 and quicker than waiting in a telephone queue at busy times. I want to reassure people that this is not an automated service - each report will be triaged by one of our experienced call handlers, the same ones who take 999 and 101 calls in our control rooms, within 45 minutes of a report being submitted.
"We will respond within 48 hours. However, if those call handlers think that the crime needs a more urgent response they can divert the report to a police officer to attend.
“Where needed, we will continue to visit victims of crime face-to-face but online reports for less serious offences mean an officer does not need to visit an address to take details. This frees them up to attend the calls where they are needed most.”
People can simply click “report a crime” on the Met website to begin the process (https://www.met.police.uk/report/how-to-report-a-crime/) and follow the online steps, receiving a reference number at the end.
Each report will be reviewed by an call handler. The majority will then be investigated by the Met’s Telephone and Digital Investigation Unit but if the crime is more serious, officers will attend.
The online service can also be used to pass information to police via "tell us about".
A survey last year by an agency on behalf of the Met found that 37 per cent of people would prefer to make contact with officers about non-emergencies online and it is expected this figure will grow.
A new-look Met website launched in March and by the end of September, 51,000 reports of crimes or incidents had been received online plus 31,000 reports via the road traffic incident reporting form. Two-thirds of road traffic collisions are now reported online, rather than forms having to be printed and returned by post or hand to a police station.
Before the new website, members of the public could report only minor incidents online. As of June, online reporting accounted for nine per cent of all reported crime and incidents in London but it’s hoped that figure will substantially grow as more people take advantage of the new service and chose that option rather than dialling 101.
Feedback and testing since March has shown that people have found the Met’s new online reporting service very easy and convenient to use and any further comments will be taken on board to develop the service.