By Hannah Bennett
Online police portal ClickB4UCall thought to cause the police to ‘lose the respect and support’ of the local residents.
West Yorkshire Police have created a new online service for the public to report non-emergency crimes, rather than call the 101 phone line.
The ClickB4UCall portal deals with issues such as anti-social behaviour, animal welfare, cyber-crime, nuisance noise, social media and also offers help for victims.
Steve Dimsbale, who works at the police costumer contact centre, said: “We receive quite a lot of calls on the 101 line so this was a way of diverting some of the calls at busy times.
“It encourages people to choose a method of reporting crimes in a way that fits their lifestyle.”
Despite the popularity of the new online portal, Mr Dimsbale said it was apparent the portal was not yet as popular as the force’s existing online service called “live chat” which allows the public to type a message and get an instant typed response from a police operator.
He said: “When the live chat was introduced it took off and we still receive around 2,000 to 3,000 enquiries a month.”
And he said the portal was aimed at people of all ages – not just the younger generation.
John Popham, digital storyteller and media expert, feels he would use the portal but other people may not feel confident.
Mr Popham said: “the portal could be could be successful but people need to feel their issue will be dealt with and they may not feel it will be unless they speak to someone
“I would use the portal but for other people it would depend on how confident they are online”
Councillor Brian Cleasby, of Liberal Democrats, feels this new way of reporting crimes will rule out the vast majority of the public.
Cllr Cleasby said: “This new way of reporting crime is disturbing for the elderly who do not use computers and is just a sign of the police moving further and further away from the public
“The portal will bring minimal improvement as people need the reassurance of speaking to a person
It just seems like a tick box exercise and the police will lose the respect and the support of the public”
History of reporting crime
On 30 June 1937, the capital’s new emergency telephone line was unveiled. A notice in the Evening News advised the public how to use it.
“Only dial 999… if the matter is urgent; if, for instance, the man in the flat next to yours is murdering his wife or you have seen a heavily masked cat burglar peering round the stack pipe of the local bank building.