Think Before You Dial: report online, take your time
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As we enter the summer period, we often see an increase in the number of people getting in touch with us to report a crime.
Between July and September, we will be running the Think Before You Dial campaign, highlighting the benefits of online reporting, how and when it should be used, as well as dispelling any myths around how online reports are dealt with.
We know that you are familiar with using 999 for emergencies when a life is in danger or a crime is happening right now, and with using 101 for incidents that are not an emergency, however you may not be aware that you can report non-emergency crimes to us online.
What is online reporting?
Online crime reporting offers another way to get in touch with us where an urgent police response is not required. Examples of crimes and incidents that can be reported online include:
Criminal damage and vandalism
Thefts, including from or of a vehicle
Thefts of a mobile phone
Shed, garage and outbuilding burglaries
Public order incidents
Non dwelling burglaries
Road traffic collisions
Dangerous driving complaints
You should try to include as much information as possible about the crime. The more information you are able to provide, the better chance we have of being able to investigate and achieve justice for you. Think about what might be useful to an officer when they receive your report.
Why use online reporting?
Online reporting allows you the freedom to report non-emergencies at a time that is convenient for you. It means you are able to spend some time writing in your own words exactly what happened and there is no need to wait for a member of our staff to become available to take your call.
We understand that reporting a crime can be a difficult process, so the online reporting service is designed to make it a little easier and more convenient for you.
How we will deal with your report
Once we have received your report, our Contact Management staff will aim to assess it within 24 hours. This is not an automated service – each report will be dealt with by an experienced call handler. You will be contacted via email to confirm what we have recorded and to let you know if there is further work to be done following your report.
Any personal information submitted as part of your report will only be held for policing purposes, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
What happens after you report a crime?
The circumstances around every crime are unique, so the way we investigate each one can vary, but we treat reports of crime seriously and investigate each with impartiality. Every investigation will start with the same basic steps to make sure we gather all the relevant information and keep you informed.
There are numerous ways to contact the police and the best way for you to do this will depend on your reason for getting in touch. Using our simple tool, you can decide which way is most suitable.
Chief Superintendent Paul Bartolomeo, Head of Contact Management for Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary, said: “The Police Service has worked hard to develop a great online reporting tool which many people are choosing as their preferred method to contact us to report crime, seek advice or tell us about something.
“The service is easy to use, can be accessed via a mobile device, and is seen by the same people who answer our phone lines.
“Over the summer months we see an increase in individuals contacting the police, some of this is for matters that we cannot help with.
“Please think before you dial, read the information linked to above, and help us preserve the 101 service for those that need to speak to someone at that moment in time. Our 999 service remains as an emergency line if a crime is happening now or life or property is at immediate risk.”