Your risk of being robbed is six times higher if you’re in London than in Merseyside. Despite this, the Metropolitan Police is ten times less likely than other forces to seek the public’s help in catching and convicting the criminals responsible.
The report - Daylight Robbery - found that to help solve the 2,663 robberies that the Met investigated in February 2012, it issued just 4 witness appeals. With the Met now failing to catch the robbers in 84 crimes out of 100, the report says the case for a different approach is urgent. The report calls on the Met to publish the guidance it follows on whether to publish a witness appeal, to include a dedicated section on its website for witnesses, and to use new technology to ease the path and improve the experiences of witnesses who come forward.
With the Met now failing to catch the robbers in 84 crimes out of 100, the charity says the case for a different approach is urgent and unanswerable. “The Met has to enable and encourage people who witness these robberies to come forward. Until they do, it’s hard to see how the Met can do any better at catching these criminals, let alone deterring others.”
With the Olympics coming and with half of all robberies in England & Wales now taking place in the Capital, the charity is calling on London’s Mayoral candidates to make tackling robbery an urgent priority. While under its new Commissioner the Met has accepted the key role that the public must play to prevent terrorism and cut domestic violence, the evidence in the report strongly suggests the Met will continue to give robbery a low priority unless it receives a clear directive on behalf of Londoners. Witness Confident says “A strong political lead is now needed if the Met is to raise its game and start to reduce the unacceptably high level of robberies in the Capital”.
The charity recommends that the Met should:
- Publish the criteria it uses to decide when it will post witness appeals
- Make it easier for witnesses to come forward by getting officers to use the popular online witness appeals site, StreetViolence.org,
- Run a media campaign on robbery to reassure the public that their help is wanted, needed and valued
- Add a section to its website to welcome and give advice to witnesses,
- Reduce the time it takes to put out appeals with images of the suspects, and
- Increase the number of appeals issued in robberies to the UK average (ten-fold).