Last December MOPAC launched their MOPAC Hate Crime Reduction Strategy Dec 2014 for London which includes 29 objectives to tackle hate crime in the capitol.
Objective 3 states MOPAC will develop a smartphone crime reporting app and pilot the use of that app for hate crime by 2015.
This was put out to tender and Witness Confident won the bidding process with their Self Evident Mobile app.
Witness Confident is registered charity and legal advice centre that seeks to tackle the walk on by culture and encourage more people to report the crime (including hate crime and domestic violence). Its view is that victims will not report crime if they lack confidence in the justice system, witnesses will not come forward if the police do not make them feel welcome, and crime will not be deterred if the courts treat offenders with more respect than victims and witnesses. The app was developed as a result of research and policy work carried out by Witness Confident.
The charity’s sister organisation, Just Evidence, is the company that delivers the app in other fields around the world. It has been set up as a social enterprise where at least half of the profits go to support charitable works in the regions and fields where the app is used. Just Evidence runs the app and the service associated with it.
Its website, www.justevidence.org, is where users log into their accounts to see their reports and information about when these have been accessed by the police, and is where you can find out more information about the Self Evident app.
You can find out more Witness Confident and it’s team here. The charity launched on the 9th September 2009 and is led by director Guy Dehn. Sarah Byrt oversees their domestic violence and hate crime projects.
Mayor launches new app to make it easier to report hate crime.
MOPAC PRESS RELEASE 16th October 2015
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.”
Downloading the app
You can download the app free from the app store – just search for “Self Evident”. It works on the iPhone and on most Androids.
Downloading the app from Google Play was easy. I quickly registered – filling in my name, email address and mobile phone number, then a moment later I received an authorisation code and I was ready to start using the app.
Later I logged on via my home computer to see the test reports that I had submitted during the meeting with Sarah.
Capture, Describe Report!
The app itself is fairly simple to use.
You can capture evidence in three formats; Video, Audio and Photo. You can also import other evidence however this comes with a warning as only Video, Audio and Photos caught on your phone can be time, date and location stamped. The app records this information automatically.
You can the make a video statement. I quite like this feature as it means you can describe what happened in your own words immediately without having to worry about finding pen and paper.
The third page then enables you to make your report. There are three options here, you can file the report in the account you set up when you registered with the app. You can send the report to the police. And in London and Sussex you can click on the option for Hate Crime Support.
Sarah tells me “Over 90% of users recommend this app for reporting crime and in October 2015, the Evening Standard named it one of the top 30 apps for Londoners. Since the app launched in 2013, it has been downloaded over 14,000 times and used to send hundreds of crime reports to police forces across England and Wales.”
Each time you make a report – a copy is automatically saved on your account so that you can still access the information, even after you have submitted a report to the police.
Self Evident in a nutshell
Self Evident is a smartphone app for:
- reporting crime and sending evidence to the police
- logging hate crimes and getting support from Victim Support, or
- sending information and evidence to someone else.
If you want to report a non-emergency crime to the Met Police (or any other police force in England and Wales), you can do this straight from your smartphone, and can send the police digital evidence, all in an easy and secure way. The app proves when and where evidence was recorded within it, making the evidence stronger. You can choose to flag up an incident as a hate crime and to say that you have a disability.
The app also enables users to share reports and evidence with others. If you’re a victim or witness of hate crime and live in London, and don’t want to contact the police, you can use Self Evident to log the incidents and seek support for them from Victim Support, free of charge. This is thanks to funding from MOPAC, which wants to make it easier to report hate crimes.
What can I use it for?
Self Evident makes it possible for victims and witnesses to:
- record evidence of a crime or its aftermath (as a photo, or an audio or video recording),
- if you don’t want to report straight away, you can build up a digital diary of what is happening and send it in a single report,
- record a description of what happened (as an audio or video recording), in their own words and while events are fresh in their minds,
- in a way which proves when and where evidence recorded within the app was captured,
- select the crime type,
- for hate crimes, also select the motivation,
- select the location (so the report includes a map), and
- share this report with anyone they choose, easily and securely.
The user can choose to send his or her report and evidence:
- directly to the police force for the incident location, free of charge, as a crime report, or
- where the incident is a hate crime and the user lives in London or Sussex, to Victim Support, to enable it to log the incident, provide support, and/or refer or signpost the user to other agencies, also free of charge, and
- to anyone else (such as a friend or adviser, or another support charity), for a small charge. (After a free trial, credits cost from £2-£2.50 depending on the choice of bundle.)e
How does this help me?
The key advantages of Self Evident are:
- You can report crime from your smartphone and send digital evidence to the police.
- It is easy and quick to use to use.
- It’s an easy way of recording evidence, keeping it safe and sending it securely to the chosen recipient, giving you more confidence that you’ll be believed (and helping the police to take action if you choose to report to them).
- Evidence captured inside the app is stronger.
- You can keep evidence safe, while deciding whether and when to report.
- You are in control. You decide whether and when to report the incident, and to whom.
- You keep a copy of their report and evidence in your secure, on-line account.
- You can track when your report has been opened.
Reports sent using the app are not anonymous. If you use Self Evident to report to the police, the police see your email address and mobile phone number (unless you opt out of giving them your mobile number). If you use the app to log an incident with Victim Support, then Victim Support sees those contact details – but the police do not. So the person or organisation to whom you choose to send a report can see who you are.
Watch a short video of the app on YouTube
You can watch a short video of the app on YouTube here.
Promoting the Self Evident App in Lambeth
We will be adding information about the Self Evident App to the hate crime reporting information on the Lambeth Hate Crime Blog.
Don’t forget in an emergency call the Police on 999 as they are best placed to respond to hate crime incidents. If it is not an emergency you can still call them on 101.
If you don’t want to speak to the Police then report via Lambeth Council using our online hate crime reporting form http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/hatecrime.
Third party independent advice and support services are listed on this blog.
And now you can download the Self Evident app and submit a report using your mobile phone.