neighbourhood policing by Thames Valley Policeprotect valuables noticespeed monitoring by Thames Valley Policewordcloud chiltern s bucksflytipping photographed by Thames Valley Policedrugs seized by Thames Valley Policerural policing by Thames Valley Police

Reporting Crime

“Is it worth reporting?” “We won’t hear back.” “It’s too difficult to get through on 101.” “I don’t understand how to report.” What are the chances of my crime being resolved? These are common perceptions on reporting crime and bad behaviour to the Police. Here we explain exactly why it IS so important to make reports, and how to do it.

WHY it’s important to report

The importance of REPORTING crime and bad behaviour is twofold:

– if you have suffered a crime directly, in the hope and expectation of a positive action and outcome;
– and to contribute to the intelligence gathering process which the Police rely on for proactive policing.

Proactive Policing requires Intelligence and Data

In October 2023, we reported on the Thames Valley Police Neighbourhood Policing conference (What Type of Policing do we want? 22nd October 2023). Distinguished criminologist Gloria Laycock, Professor of Crime Science at University College London, argued that Police and communities need to come together to achieve a proactive, problem solving approach to policing. Many if not most harms cannot simply be dealt with by reactive enforcement – think in particular of knife crime, County lines, drug dealing, but this is equally applicable to many other harms.

Professor Laycock listed three essential components to the problem-solving approach:

  • DATA

‘Data’ will often come in the form of reports from the public. Gathering of ‘Intelligence’ also requires community involvement. In turn, however, TRUST is essential – trust in the Police, trust that reports and intelligence will be used in a timely and effective manner. That’s why the Police and Crime Commissioner in his Crimefighters strategy, placed improvement of reporting channels as a key goal.

Under-reporting can also impact allocation of resources from the centre to neighbourhoods.

The frustration of residents on speeding is evident from every Forum quarterly survey, in particular in certain hotspots. Then-LPA Commander Supt Amy Clements advised a Forum meeting that it is crucial for residents to REPORT speeding incidents, with as much specificity and detail as possible. By building up logs, TVP is much more likely to be able to justify attention and resource, including from Roads Policing.

Residents often take out their frustration regarding anti-social behaviour on social media. Sgt Roy Evans, Sergeant of Chesham Neighbourhood Policing Team has stressed to us the importance of REPORTING anti social behaviour. In the absence of such reports, the impression may be that our villages have no anti social issues, and it is harder to justify support.

Even a report of a stolen bike could provide clues to something greater. Matthew Barber, Thames Valley told BBC Radio Oxford: “…bike thefts may be part of a bigger picture, even funding County Lines drug crime. A user steals a bike, is paid a low sum in drugs, and bikes are then sold on for vast profits by criminal gangs… where we get more sophisticated, using the techniques that Police can deploy against big criminal gangs, often what appears to be a low-level crime can be a symptom of a much bigger problem… every bike matters, each will feed into an intelligence picture… if it’s not reported, the Police won’t have the picture.”

Chris Pigott, National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, in an NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report:
“it’s report, report, report, don’t think because you haven’t heard anything back on it that it’s not being picked up. Because they will see a pattern and they will look at the pattern of criminality in that area, and that will drive the Police to put resources into that area. So the more it’s reported, the more an analyst could look at it and say, ‘This is a problem area, we need to be concentrating on this’.”

Fly tipping is an all-too-evident environmental issue around Chiltern and South Bucks, presenting hazards for wildlife and people. Criminals involved in fly tipping, especially those of industrial scale, may well be involved in other forms of criminality. And the costs of clearing flytipping fall mainly on us, as Council taxpayers.
Fly Tipping is principally a Buckinghamshire Council matter and should be reported through ‘Fix My Street’: There is close cooperation between Council and Police.

HOW to report to Thames Valley Police

999 – critical for emergencies

The 999 reporting system remains critical for emergencies, and should be used if:

  • A crime is happening right now.
  • Someone is in immediate danger, or there is a risk of serious damage to property.
  • A suspect for a serious crime is nearby.
  • There is a traffic collision involving injury or danger to other road users.

There is a long-standing problem of misuse (and sometimes abuse) of the 999 reporting system. Around 80% of 999 calls to Thames Valley do not require an emergency response. This includes callers who have become tired of waiting on 101. If the 101 service is to achieve its goal of easing pressure on 999 call handlers, and enabling more effective response to genuine emergencies, all police forces are very aware of the need to build confidence in and understanding of 101.

101 – appropriate for most instances

The ‘non-emergency’ 101 telephone service has had a deserved bad reputation for long wait times in the past. Up to 2000, it even charged a controversial 15p fee! However, it is very well understood that an effective reporting platform is essential to trust in Policing. That’s why reducing the 101 wait times as well as investing in technology to improve and expand channels for reporting and feedback are given high priority in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Crimefighters strategy.

As recently as June 2023, the average response time to 101 calls was a wholly unacceptable 10 minutes and 43 seconds. The report presented to the Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel in March 2024 stated that “TVP … have invested in a programme to improve 101 ASA whilst ensuring 999 performance is protected. This programme is referred to as CM101. It focuses across three strands. New digital public contact, process efficiency and automaton, and recruitment and retention. The programme is intended to help reduce 101 ASA times in TVP down from 7 minutes to 4 minutes.” We understand that the average call response time was 3 minutes and 3 seconds.

101 Online

Thames Valley Police: “Think before you dial”

The 101 Online reporting service is an efficient alternative to the 101 phone service. Reports are dealt with by the TVP control room in exactly the same way, and by the same people, whether you report it online or by telephone.

Our article on 26th March 2020 reports a positive personal experience of reporting online via 101. From this writer’s personal experience, the process started with triage-like questions, followed by a form. It was easy to complete, the questions were not overly complex, and a print-out of my report and an e-mail receipt were sent, promising follow-up. The report prompted a next-day response. Understandably some reporters will want an immedite response, but reporting online can help avert the danger of a long wait on the telephone escalating the reporter’s already fraught state.

Scams and Fraud – via ActionFraud

All fraud cases nationally should be reported to Action Fraud.

Action Fraud Online Reporting page

Reports are logged and then passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau ( for assessment, analysis and data matching.

Reports are then sent to local police forces/law enforcement agencies for investigation. Please see our Scams and Frauds page for further information.

Tell Us About

Thames Valley Police: “Tell Us About” page

The ‘Tell Us About’ page on the Thames Valley Police website enables residents to report concerns which may not involve a crime but has alerted suspicions, or to pass on something they think Police should be aware of. This could be used, for example, to report concerns about possible instances of modern slavery.

New Police.UK App

The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPPC) Digital Public Contact Programme (DPC) has rolled out Police.UK as an App. This has all the main features of the website, in a handy form on your phone. Though it is a national website and app, reports will be linked back to local forces.

By clicking ‘Contact Us and Report’, the App enables online reporting by citizens while on the move. In addition it delivers crime prevention advice for a wide range of issues, information about local neighbourhood policing teams, local crime stats and a host of other information.

main menu options on app
reporting options on app

In a press release, DPC’s Senior Responsible Officer, Deputy Chief Constable Simon Megicks explained: “We want to make it as easy for the public to contact the police, or find what they need to know such as how to keep themselves or their property safe, or understand what is happening with their local policing team. The Police.UK app puts the public in control to report what they want, when they want to.

“We know that having a digital choice opens a door for many, meaning where they wouldn’t have reported information before, they now will. Crimes and incidents can often go unreported because it’s not always convenient to make a phone call or visit a police station. Having the option to report digitally puts the victim or witness in control and prevents them having to verbally relive the incident out loud to someone they have never spoken to before. They can take ultimate control by using the app in a way they want.

“Having an app to complement our growing digital offering allows us to give a wider audience a different choice. It must be stressed, however, that if it is an emergency the public should always call 999, and the option to call 101 for routine issues absolutely still exists.”

Victims Portal

In 2023, Thames Valley Police launched a new option for communication between frontline officers and victims of crime. The Victim’s Portal enables people who have reported a crime to check the status of the investigation, get updated as their case progresses, and message the officer in charge of their case (OIC), through a link on their phone or computer.

After reporting a crime to 101 or 999, or via the TVP website, a link is issued to use the Portal to check the status of the investigation. This includes the name and collar number of the OIC handling their case and their crime reference number.

From February 2024, to request an update, the victim can choose to use a two-way messaging function to contact their OIC directly.

NB This service is by invitation only and doesn’t cover all crime types.

Key Reporting Resources


DIAL 999 emergency service; use if:

  • A crime is happening right now.
  • Someone is in immediate danger, or there is a risk of serious damage to property.
  • A suspect for a serious crime is nearby.
  • There is a traffic collision involving injury or danger to other road users.

DIAL 101 ‘non-emergency’ service; appropriate for most instances.


Online 101 – alternative ‘non-emergency’ reporting service.

Thames Valley Police – Report a Crime

Thames Valley Police: “Think before you dial”

‘Tell Us About’ – to report concerns which may not involve a crime but has alerted suspicions, or to pass on something you think Police should be aware of.

POLICE.UK AppApp version of POLICE.UK website, enabling citizens to report and contact Police while on the move.

FRAUD and SCAMS – should be reported to ActionFraud

CRIMESTOPPERS – an option for reporting crime anonymously
Phone: 0800 555 111
Online Form

FLY TIPPING – should be reported to Buckinghamshire Council
Buckinghamshire Council page on reporting Fly Tipping
FixMyStreet on Buckinghamshire Council website

PARKING – routine parking issues should be reported to Buckinghamshire Council. Urgent issues, eg illegal or obstructive parking, can be reported to TVP via 101.

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