When you do find yourself in need of contacting the police, do you know the best way to get in touch with us?

999 should only be used in emergency situations; when a life is in danger or a crime is happening right now. To speak to the police about anything else, you should call 101 or did you know you can contact us online.

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What is online reporting?

Online crime reporting has been introduced to offer another option to victims of crime when reporting a crime or incident where an urgent police response is not required. Examples of crimes and incidents that can be reported online include:

  • Criminal damage and vandalism
  • Thefts from a vehicle
  • Thefts of a mobile phone
  • Shed, garage and outbuilding burglaries

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 2018. Please read our Privacy notice.

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.

Find out more about the investigation process and possible outcomes.

Who should you call?

Did you know that around 7,000 hours of our call handlers’ time each year is spent dealing with issues that aren’t police matters?

Our most common misdirected calls can be found below along with who should be contacted.

An abandoned vehicle is one that has not been moved or attended to in a long time. These can cause a nuisance or an eye sore to those living near it.

Unless the vehicle appears to have been stolen or used in a crime, you should report them to your local council.

Nuisance noise is any loud or persistent noise that causes you ongoing concern or affects your quality of life. Your local council should be your first contact for reporting nuisance noise as this is usually dealt with by their Environmental Health team.

However, if the situation feels like it may get heated or violent as a result of the noise we will intervene.

Fly tipping is the illegal dumping of large items of waste. It is a civil offence to fly tip and so reports should be made to your local council. Reports of fly tipping in progress, with the offenders on scene should be reported to the police on 101.

Unless a vehicle has broken down in a dangerous position, for example in the middle of a lane on a busy road, you should contact a breakdown or recovery service.

We can only answer questions and offer advice on issues that relate to criminal offences. Citizens Advice is dedicated to offering free advice and guidance on a range of issues such as obtaining civil orders, advice on housing and how to proceed with any civil disputes over payment, for example a poor quality refurbishment in your home.

Two questions you need to ask yourself before calling 999

We all know that 999 is the phone number for emergencies, but what makes a situation an emergency?

There are two questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not your call is an emergency.

Protecting life is the number priority for police, ambulance and fire. Every emergency service worker will dedicate themselves to protecting lives.

If there is a real possibility that someone could lose their life or be seriously injured if they don’t receive help immediately, then you need to call 999.

As the police, we really like to be able to catch criminals in the act.

As well as potentially preventing the crime being completed, someone being hurt and items being stolen, it is also the very best evidence we can get to prove that someone has committed the crime.

You can help us do this by calling 999 when the crime is taking place and if criminals have just left the scene of a crime.

Once criminals have left the scene, we may still send police officers, PCSOs or a member of police staff out to investigate the crime, as this is at the very heart of policing. But, there is no longer a need for us to get there immediately so you should call us on 101.

Depending on the crime, we will send someone from the right team out to speak with you as soon as we can, or arrange a time to visit that suits you or you may get a call from one of our investigation teams to discuss the incident over the phone.

So, if a life is in danger or a crime is in progress, call 999 immediately.

If it's not an emergency, you can call us 24 hours a day on 101 or make a report to us online.

Still not sure who to speak to? The independent website Ask the Police, is full of information about what to do and who to contact about a wide range of issues.