Media Release - Embargoed to 00.01 Wed 11th Sept 2013
Press Office: 020 7226 0968
Mobile revolution in Crime Reporting
Launched today, Self Evident is a free app (for iOS and Android), which allows members of the public to report any crime they have been a victim or witness of instantly and accurately. The app is the first in the world to enable people to validate and send the police evidence.
Supported by Google and the Robert Peel Trust, the app has been developed by the charity Witness Confident, which was founded in 2009 to reduce the level of crime by giving people the confidence to engage with the police and the justice system.
The Self Evident app addresses two problems. Firstly, it is a new easy way to report crime: hundreds of thousands of burglaries, thefts and violent attacks go unreported each year because the British public think the process of reporting crime is too much hassle[i]. Secondly, the app ensures the police get both details about the crime and contacts for the user: last year half a million calls to the police on the 101 service went unanswered.[ii]
The app helps members of the public report any crime - including anti-social behaviour, burglary, theft and violence - quickly and easily. It automatically tags the time and location and allows the user to add a description and photographs to help the police.
Evidence obtained through the app is more reliable than traditional reporting as the evidence is recorded in real time and statements are made when the events are fresh in the witness’ mind. Additionally, a secure server validates the time and place the evidence was created and keeps a copy of the report safely for the user in their private account[iii].
Guy Dehn, Director, Witness Confident said: “The Self Evident app is a state-of-the-art expression of Sir Robert Peel’s principle that ‘the police are the public, the public are the police’. Self Evident makes it easy for the public to report crime, make statements and file evidence with the police simply and securely.
“Mobile technology is an incredibly powerful tool and this app will put that power in the public’s hands so they can help cut crime in their area.”
While Self Evident is an independent charitable initiative that has been developed without public funds, its launch fulfils Boris Johnson’s manifesto pledge for an app “allowing people to immediately report crimes using their smartphone, including pictures and footage, and making it faster and easier to report crimes.” [iv] The app will also be a fillip for Government plans to get the Criminal Justice System to use mobile technology, to replace paper with digital evidence, and to enable victims and witnesses to give evidence by video and deal with the police online[v].
Notes to Editors:
· An introduction to the app and its uses is available at www.witnessconfident.org.
· There’s also a full Q&A on the app and service.
· Click here to link to a You Tube video.
· Twitter feed starts on Tuesday 10 Sept @SelfEvidentApp
About Witness Confident:
Witness Confident is an independent charity that is taking a stand against the walk-on-by culture and campaigning for a more enlightened criminal justice system. It launched on 9 September 2009 to help reduce the levels of crime in and fear across society and address three issues:
i. victims will not report crime if they lack confidence in the justice system,
ii. witnesses will not help if the police make them feel unwelcome, and
iii.criminals will not be deterred if the courts treat them with more respect than those who witness and suffer the crime.
Witness Confident is a registered charity (no 1131106), a limited company (no 6917476) in England & Wales, and designated a legal advice centre by the Bar Standards Board.
[i] Office for National Statistics : 2011/12 Crime Tables Table 1.07: 7% of people did not report the crime because of the inconvenience. (This is three times as many as those who said they did not report the crime for fear of reprisal. The reason most people – 72% - gave for not reporting was that the particular crime was trivial, no loss or no point.) As ONS estimates there were 9.5 million crimes in 2011/12 (Table 1.01) and 61% of these went unreported (Table 1.06), this indicates that last year some 406,000 victims did not report a crime because of the inconvenience.
[ii] An FoI response from 30 of the 43 police forces in England & Wales disclosed that in ten months last year 496,000 calls made to the police on 101 were dropped or discontinued. (NB. Dropped calls will be categorised by the ONS survey at note 1 as an “Other” reason).
· the police adopt mobile devices with access to real-time intelligence relevant to their role, location and local tasking, and can begin building case files from the street;
· there is a simple, easy–to-use digital file for each crime type, ensuring that the streamlined file is used by all parts of the CJS to prepare cases, helping to reduce the unnecessary additions and omissions that plague the current approach, and eradicating the mountains of unnecessary paper that too often characterise the system;
· evidence can be presented digitally in court, dramatically reducing the millions of pieces of paper floating around the system;
· the default option is for the police and witnesses to give evidence by video so they don’t have to travel or hang around in court; and
· the public contact the CJS and manage their own services online as most people do in every other aspect of their lives.