Now Sadiq Khan tells crime victims to collect their own evidence and send it to police | Daily Mail Online

Now Sadiq Khan tells crime victims to collect their own evidence and send it to police to save officers from having to visit the scene

By Jake Ryan Home Affairs Correspondent For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 17:00 EDT, 26 June 2021 | Updated: 17:21 EDT, 26 June 2021

Crime victims will be asked to collect their own evidence and send it to police to save officers from having to visit the scene, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has agreed to implement the controversial scheme in which victims directly upload evidence such as footage from doorbell cameras, CCTV, phones or dashcams via the internet.

His decision comes after Scotland Yard said it would save tens of thousands of man-hours each year.

Police chiefs also cited social distancing rules as a reason why officers should not visit premises – even though all restrictions are due to be lifted next month.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has agreed to implement the controversial scheme in which victims directly upload evidence such as footage from doorbell cameras, CCTV, phones or dashcams via the internet

Campaigners fear the scheme will cause further trauma to householders and business owners, who will lose reassuring face-to-face support from officers.

The elderly and vulnerable may also find it difficult to use the technology.

Nevertheless, a report seen by this newspaper reveals that Mr Khan's administration has agreed to roll out the 'Axon Citizen' programme following a trial in North London.

Rebecca Brown, chief executive of victim support group ASB Help, said: 'This shouldn't be used as an alternative to officers visiting, speaking to victims and investigating fully.

'A victim's voice should be heard – but how can it be heard if they are just uploading evidence?'

Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: 'The majority of older people are not online so would be unable to engage with the police in this way.'

And Mark Shelford, the crime tsar for Avon and Somerset, said he opposed any plan to 'reduce the face-to-face time between officers and the public'.

The computer program, which was developed by US tech and weapons firm Axon Enterprise, is already being used by Cumbria Police.

The force, which has 1,000 officers compared to the 33,000 in the Met, uploaded 20,000 pieces of digital evidence last year.

Caroline Abrahams (pictured), of Age UK, said: 'The majority of older people are not online so would be unable to engage with the police in this way'

The London trial, in which victims receive a link via text or email to upload digital media to Axon's evidence.com website, began last July and involved 3,500 pieces of evidence. Scotland Yard estimates the scheme will save 27,000 staff days each year as processing a single item of physical evidence can take an officer up to three hours.

It says expanding the scheme, at a cost of £847,000, will allow Met chiefs to shift its focus towards violent street crime or the '12,000 cases of domestic abuse reported every month'.

Some have welcomed the initiative. Chris Nelson, the Police and Crime Commissioner in Gloucestershire, said: 'It sounds exciting. You might have footage which you need to get into the police system so it can build the intelligence picture and I would hope this should mean more contact with victims.'

The Mail on Sunday revealed last year that forces were also developing a mobile app called MyPolice for victims to upload evidence.

Scotland Yard, the Mayor's office and Axon – which also created the Taser – declined to comment.

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