Calls to charity soar by 65 per cent as trust in police fall sharply

  • 17 February, 2024
  • Philanthropy

Published in the Daily Express on 17 February 2024.

Reports to Crimestoppers have risen 65 per cent in the last five years, driven by a growing mistrust in the police, says its boss.

Last year the charity received more than 704,000 online reports and calls offering information that could help police solve crimes – compared to 427,000 in 2018.

During an exclusive visit by this newspaper to its secret call centre in a London suburb, CEO Mark Hallas told us that 101 non-emergency calls not always being answered had also driven people to contact the charity.

A recent survey found 30 per cent of people said they called Crimestoppers as they “did not want to speak to the police”.

Crimestoppers cannot identify who calls or sends an online report.

It is not only the general public that calls the charity. Relatives of crooks and criminals themselves will call, sometimes from prison.

They may be informing on rivals or those they feel have “crossed the line” by harming children or the elderly.

The Crimestoppers number is put in police cells.

The charity also believes calls could be rising due to a series of police scandals, including the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving office Wayne Couzens in March 2021.

Mr Hallas said: “Trust and confidence in policing has exacerbated in the last 18 months. Most people want to do the right thing, but not all are willing to talk to the police. But they are willing to talk to us.”

He said a further rebranding of Crime-stoppers to distance it from police had helped with high-profile cases such as the murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, nine, in Liverpool in August 2022, which saw Thomas Cashman, 35, jailed for life last year.

Last year 200,000 reports were passed to police, with 30,000 leading to what forces call “positive outcomes”, inc-luding searches and arrests.

Crimestoppers was set up by businessman and philanthropist Lord Ashcroft in 1988 after the 1985 murder of PC Keith Blakelock during the Broadwater Farm riots in London. He hoped witnesses would help police anonymously after officers told how those who knew the killer were too scared to come forward.

Lord Ashcroft said:

We’re delighted more people than ever are trusting Crimestoppers with vital information that helps catch dangerous criminals and prevents further harm to our communities. The significant rise in recent years shows how much our charity is relied on by people in their hour of need.

Several forces have been criticised for lengthy waits before picking up 101 calls, with many callers hanging up. In December Surrey Police’s “abandonment rate” for 101 calls was 47 per cent. The force says the rate has since improved to 18 per cent.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “We value the long and healthy relationship policing has with Crimestoppers and its
support for those who wish to share information and remain anonymous. It is important people feel comfortable in reporting information to the police and can do so anonymously without fear, reprisal or judgement.”

● Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit

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