Cops trial crime reporting over the Net
Sussex Police says don't email it about emergencies
Sussex Police is trying to lighten the load on its emergency call handling service by encouraging victims of less serious crimes to report them over the Internet.
The force has set up forms on its Web site for reports of thefts at Gatwick Airport and for lost property enquiries, and a facility that allows members of the public to email PCs (police constables) from a PC. The Internet reporting facility is being introduced as part of a pilot scheme, which uses technology and networking equipment from BT and Nortel Networks.
According to a report in today's Daily Telegraph, the 999 emergency service in Sussex received 280,000 calls last year. It reports that police are investigating the use of software technologies to scan email for key words in order to identify more serious or urgent crime reports.
Sussex Police, which said that an Internet operation will not detract from the quality of its call centres, is careful to say that the service can only go so far.
On its Web site, Sussex Police said: "Do not attempt to email us about an incident in progress. In an emergency always dial 999." ®
Sussex Police site - do not attempt to email them about an incident in progress.