Don't just tell Facebook friends if you see something suspicious Image: Gina-Sanders-AdobeStock_188072488

“Report, Report, Report!”

Attendees at November’s Bedford and District Neighbourhood Watch Association meeting were told of the importance of sharing information with the authorities.

Bedford Borough Council Community Safety & Resilience service manager, John McKinney, said that he recently visited a community that had suffered burglaries in a concentrated area.

He found that residents had various bits of information about suspicious activities. He said:

“If that information had been put into the system earlier in the day, I’m pretty sure that the community would have seen a lot less burglaries.”

Reporting anonymously

McKinney recognised that some people might not want to be stuck in court or possibly be confronted by the accused or their associates. For these residents, Crimestoppers offers a solution. He said:

“The one cracking thing about Crimestoppers is that you can phone or go online and tell them what is going on anonymously.”

Crimestoppers Trust is an independent crime-fighting charitable organisation. It can be contacted by calling 0800 555 111. A spokesperson for Crimestoppers said:

“People tend to come to Crimestoppers because they don’t feel able to speak to the police.

“If they have contacted us through our 0800 555 111 number or through our untraceable online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org, then we will pass that onto the relevant authority, and it will be up to them as to how they want to deal with that information.”

He added that once the information has been passed to Crimestoppers, there is no need to go to the police as well.

“If people are happy talking to the police, then we would always advise going to them first.

“We are not a replacement but offer an anonymous and independent service from the police. the majority of people contact us because they don’t have to give any personal details.”

Crimestoppers also has an online reporting service, but it cannot accept images or video clips.

Crimestoppers logo Image: Crimestoppers

Contacting the police

Another method of reporting suspicious activity is to use the police non-emergency number 101. This number can be used to tell the police any information you may have about criminal or suspicious activity in your community.

The 101 number can get busy, in November Beds Police said that in 2017/18 it received 103,873 999 calls and 383,414 101 calls.

Asked if people call Crimestoppers because they can’t get through on 101, the charity’s spokesperson said:

“We do get people contact us because they haven’t been able to get through on 101, but we do not see ourselves as a replacement for this service.”

Concerns can also be reported to Bedfordshire Police online

A Bedfordshire Police spokesperson said:

“Any information provided will always be reviewed and could help to stop a crime or convict an offender.”

McKinney ended his presentation with a last call to share information with the system.

“It may be nothing, it may be something, but no one knows your area better than you do.”