‘Citizens increasingly capture what is happening around them on video, generating potential evidence of crimes... Police forces must follow the example of banks and retailers and do more to connect with citizens who increasingly live their lives on line.’
– Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary, 2016
Across the country, citizens are already using smartphone technology to report crime, and send photo and video evidence to the police for free.
This Report looks at the experiences of victims and witnesses who have used the Self Evident app to help the police tackle child abuse, domestic violence, terrorism and other crimes. With user recommendations of 96%, the answer may be self evident.
The Report demonstrates how this new technology is successfully helping the police to a) reduce crime, b) engage the public, and c) support victims and witnesses. Self Evident is a free app provided by the social enterprise Just Evidence and promoted by the charity Witness Confident. With over 17,000 registered users, the public’s readiness to help the police in these ways is clear.
However, each year hundreds of thousands of people who are victims or witnesses of crime do not know that there is a simple, free and convenient way they can engage with and help the police.
This Report demonstrates why Parliament and Police & Crime Commissioners should remedy this oversight and call on chief constables to inform people that they can report crime and send in evidence for free by smartphone app.
When I had to get a photo to the police before, they came round and I had to print it off. The app makes it easier.
- Anti-Social Behaviour Victim
I felt much more able to share the details of the abuse openly via the app than if I'd been reporting in person. It's like having a digital diary where everything is independently dated.
- Domestic abuse victim
It gives you confidence. It’s almost like having a witness with you.
- Stalking victim