Think before you dial
When you find yourself in need of contacting the police, do you know the best way to get in touch?
999 should only be used in emergency situations; when a life is in danger or a crime is happening right now.
To speak to the police about anything else, you should call 101 or contact us online.
Prefer to get in touch online? Go straight to the page you need:
- Report a crime
- Report a traffic collision
- Say thank you or make a complaint
- Contact a specific officer
- Contact us about something else
- Update an existing crime report
What is online reporting?
Online crime reporting has been introduced to offer another option to victims of crime when reporting a crime or incident where an urgent police response is not required. Examples of crimes and incidents that can be reported online include:
- Criminal damage and vandalism
- Thefts from a vehicle
- Thefts of a mobile phone
- Shed, garage and outbuilding burglaries
- Anti-social behaviour
- Dangerous driving complaints
- Road traffic collisions
You should try to include as much information as possible about the crime. The more information you are able to provide, the better chance we have of being able to investigate and achieve justice for you. Think about what might be useful to an officer when they receive your report…
Why use online reporting?
Online reporting allows you the freedom to report non-emergencies at a time that is convenient for you. It means you are able to spend some time writing in your own words exactly what happened and there is no need to wait for a member of our staff to become available to take your call.
We understand that reporting a crime can be a difficult process, so the online reporting service is designed to make it a little easier and more convenient for you.
How we will deal with your report
Once we have received your report, our Contact Management staff will aim to assess it within 24 hours. This is not an automated service – each report will be dealt with by an experienced call handler. You will be contacted via email to confirm what we have recorded and to let you know if there is further work to be done following your report.
Any personal information submitted as part of your report will only be held for policing purposes, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
What happens after you report a crime?
The circumstances around every crime are unique, so the way we investigate each one can vary, but we treat reports of crime seriously and investigate each with impartiality. Every investigation will start with the same basic steps to make sure we gather all the relevant information and keep you informed.
You can find out more about the investigation process and possible outcomes here.
Who should you call?
Did you know that around 7,000 hours of our call handlers’ time each year is spent dealing with issues that aren’t police matters?
Our most common misdirected calls can be found below along with who should be contacted.
An abandoned vehicle is one that has not been moved or attended to in a long time. These can cause a nuisance or an eye sore to those living near it.
Unless the vehicle appears to have been stolen or used in a crime, you should report them to your local council.
Nuisance noise is any loud or persistent noise that causes you ongoing concern or affects your quality of life. Your local council should be your first contact for reporting nuisance noise as this is usually dealt with by their Environmental Health team.
However, if the situation feels like it may get heated or violent as a result of the noise we will intervene.
Fly tipping is the illegal dumping of large items of waste. It is a civil offence to fly tip and so reports should be made to your local council. Reports of fly tipping in progress, with the offenders on scene should be reported to the police on 101.
Broken Down Vehicles
Unless a vehicle has broken down in a dangerous position, for example in the middle of a lane on a busy road, you should contact a breakdown or recovery service.
We can only answer questions and offer advice on issues that relate to criminal offences. Citizens Advice is dedicated to offering free advice and guidance on a range of issues such as obtaining civil orders, advice on housing and how to proceed with any civil disputes over payment, for example a poor quality refurbishment in your home.
Still not sure who to speak to? The independent website Ask the Police, is full of information about what to do and who to contact about a wide range of issues.