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Facewatch reporting app combats mobile phone, credit card theft

The free public Personal Theft Reporting App allows the public to report personal theft of valuables using their mobile phones. The app provides an instant insurance crime reference and the option to cancel all payment cards free of charge with one call. The app will also enable a victim of phone theft to use a friend’s phone to report the crime.

Users can upload photographs and other detailed information about an incident to help increase the chances of a successful outcome. And, if there is CCTV available, the victim will be able to provide the details of the premises or CCTV owner who will be emailed automatically and encouraged to upload the relevant evidential CCTV footage, so saving many hours of police time.

The reported information is then made instantly available to the relevant police force via the Facewatch system. An important feature is the ability to geo-tag the information, ensuring that reports are sent to the correct police force. And importantly for the victim, they will automatically be kept informed of police progress in solving the crime.

"Opening up the Facewatch reporting technology to the public is a logical step in our development of tools to help reduce low level crime and make communities safer,” said Simon Gordon, executive chairman of Facewatch. “This will provide a service that is perfectly suited for use via a smartphone. Geo tagging and the ability to upload images means information will reach the police faster than ever before and this will lead to more convictions and provide a further deterrent to pickpockets and bag snatchers.”

The move complements the Facewatch ID App, which is currently available in London and Surrey with more forces to follow shortly. That app attracted more than 100,000 downloads and 8.5 million image views in the first five months, being the fourth most downloaded iPhone app in the UK immediately following launch. Facewatch ID is a free App which the public can download to view images in their postcode vicinity of people the Police have authorized for public display and would like to identify.

The Facewatch system is currently in use in by nine police forces areas across the UK and more than 6,000 business premises are registered or committed to register on the system. The basic system is free for businesses and the police. The system has been proven in trials in London Victoria during 2011 to provide a 72% improvement in solving low level crime when using Facewatch to report the crime, the company said, adding that each Facewatch reported incident also led to a two hour saving of police time.