Mayor launches new app to make it easier to report hate crime

16 October 2015

Mayor launches new app to make it easier to report hate crime
 
A new smartphone app was launched today (16 October) to make it easier for Londoners to report hate crime and access support services. The Mayor of London’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) launched the app during National Hate Crime Awareness Week, with the aim of boosting confidence in reporting and encouraging victims of hate crime to come forward.
 
With 14,631 hate crimes recorded in London last year,* the Crime Survey for England and Wales suggests that up to 52 per cent of hate crime goes unreported. The Mayor’s Hate Crime Strategy, published in 2014, aims to make it easier to report hate crimes and there has already been a 30 per cent increase in reporting in London in the last year.
 
The new app, which is free to download and available on both Apple and android platforms, builds on the existing Self Evident crime reporting app from social enterprise Just Evidence. It enables victims to immediately report an incident, with the information going directly to the Police via a secure server. Users can also upload photographic and video material as part of their report, providing the option to submit a verbal statement or footage of the incident. 
 
MOPAC provided £100,000 funding for the development of the hate crime support app and its year-long pilot across London. Extra custom-built software was added to the existing technology, allowing easier access to support for all victims of hate crime, including those who may not necessarily want to involve the police.  The aim is to increase the chance of obtaining swift justice for victims and to ensure they receive support to help them cope and recover from the effects of the incident. 
 
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Crimes committed simply because of who a victim is have no place in our society. They must never be tolerated and anyone who suffers should receive support as quickly as possible. We’ve already seen a rise in reporting, which is important to help the police do their job, and I am very pleased we have been able to launch this app. It will help increase reporting even further, boosting confidence, reducing repeat offences and helping victims get the support they need."
 
Developed with the Metropolitan Police and local community groups, the app provides information and access to support services to help victims, and offers the option for those who do not wish to report to the police to log the incident or seek help through Victim Support.
 
In use across London and Sussex, the app uses GPS to determine a victim’s location. If a victim uses Self Evident outside of these areas, the app refers their report to the relevant police force and Victim Support service in the victim’s area of residence. 
 
The new app builds on the Mayor’s existing work against hate crime, which includes the distribution of a resource pack to schools, community groups and voluntary services. MOPAC’s hate crime dashboard, now live, also provides information to the public and increase transparency around the issue. In addition, MOPAC established, and facilitates, a twice yearly London Hate Crime Panel, working with partners to implement the Hate Crime Strategy, and recently convened a roundtable discussion with social media companies to consider ways to reduce online hate crime.
 
Commander Mak Chishty, Metropolitan Police Service, Hate Crime lead said: “Hate Crime remains hugely under-reported and the new app makes it easier for people to report incidents. We want to safeguard victims and bring offenders to justice. 

“We urge victims not to suffer in silence, they should speak out, report incidents as soon as possible. In an emergency, victims should call 999. We have over 900 specialist Police officers in Community Safety Units dedicated to investigating all hate crime and domestic abuse. We take all hate crime seriously, it should not be tolerated; if you can't report it to police, seek advice from a third party organisation.”
 
Fiyaz Mughal OBE FCMI, Founder and Director of Faith Matters, said: “Hate Crime Awareness Week is an opportunity to refocus the public on both the importance of tackling hate crimes and the reporting of such issues. By producing an app, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime is increasing accessibility and this is to be warmly welcomed, as people want to be able to report hate incidents quickly and without disruption to their daily lives. We welcome this step and anything that increases accessibility in terms of reporting hate incidents.’’
 
Dave Rich, Deputy Director of Communications at Community Security Trust (CST) said: “CST supports Hate Crime Awareness Week because we believe that every victim of hate crime deserves to get the help and support they need. We hope that this new app will give victims and witnesses the confidence to report hate crimes and make it easier for offenders to be prosecuted.”
 
Ends
 
*14,631 hate crimes recorded in London in the year to June 2015. Not all of these would have originated as reports; police may encounter a small number in their duties rather than receive reports of them, and some ‘reports’ will not meet the criminal threshold and be reported as such.
 

 

Notes to editors

1.      The app can be downloaded here:
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.witnessconfident.app   
iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/self-evident/id571644999?mt=8 
2.      The app works on the leading Android phones, and is available on around three quarters of Android models. It is routinely tested to ensure it works on a variety of models. Google automatically only allows the app to be downloaded on the large number of phones it works on.
3.      Users must register an account before using the app, and set up a password before storing or submitting reports. 
4.      There was a 30 per cent increase in the reported levels of hate crime in London in the year to June 2015.  This includes an increase in each strand of hate crime. Racist & Religious Hate Crime (+29% number=2,890), Faith (+88% n=705), Anti –Semitic (+134% n=294), Islamophobic (+75% n=345),  Sexual orientation hate crime (+31% n=387), Disability hate crime (+66% n=74), Transgender hate crime (+50% n=43)
5.      In the year to June 2015 over 3,300 people in London were proceeded against for hate crime offences. 81 per cent of those offenders were charged. The number of prosecutions for hate crime increased by 52 per cent. 
6.      The app builds on the existing Self Evident app that is promoted by the charity Witness Confident. Witness Confident has an existing referral protocol with the Met.
7.      The Crime Survey for England and Wales, Year Ending December 2014 can be read here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Crime+in+England+and+...
8.      The Mayor’s Hate Crime Strategy, published in December 2014, can be read here: https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/our-work/supporting-...
9.      The Hate Crime dashboard can be seen here: https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/data-information/hat...
10.  Since October 2014, the Mayor (through the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime) has been responsible for delivering services that support victims of crime. The Victims’ Code of Practice (VCOP) is the policy which outlines how these services should be delivered under the legislative framework of the EU Directive.  Under the EU Directive and the VCOP MOPAC must ensure that support services are available to all victims of crime, whether they choose to report the crime to the police or not. The app with the new enhancements will help both of these requirements to be met.