|Lie Detectives Offer Amnesty in February
Police in Wigan are urging people who have lied about being burgled, robbed or having valuables stolen in reports to the police to own up during a month-long amnesty in February.
Those that come forward by using a Freephone number (0800 731 9431) or speaking to an officer during the amnesty will have no further action taken against them for wasting police time.
Officers estimate that up to one in 10 reports of crimes where property has allegedly been taken could be down to false reports. They say people lie about being burgled or robbed to claim insurance, account for valuables they may have sold or money they may have used for drink, drugs or gambling. People also lie about break-ins to account for damage they have done themselves to rented properties.
Investigating false reports takes up valuable police time and resources and can divert officers from dealing with real crimes and supporting real victims. False reports also give an inflated picture of crime, create unwarranted fear of crime in communities and decrease public confidence in the police.
This false reporting amnesty is the latest tactic being used by Operation Guardian to tackle a recent increase in burglaries across the county. The amnesty is being publicised through a hard-hitting media and advertising campaign that bangs home the message that lying to police is a crime, wastes police time and can lead to fixed penalty notices, fines from the courts and even imprisonment.
Detective Inspector John Keeley of Wigan division said: “We take false reporting very seriously and it is a crime just like burglary or robbery. Officers thoroughly investigate all reports of crimes where property is stolen or damaged and are trained to spot the tell-tale signs that point to false reporting. Crime Scene Investigators are expert at gathering evidence in cases of false reporting that will stand up in court and lead to convictions.
“Through this campaign we want to deter people from wasting our time investigating false reports. At the same time however, we want to reassure real victims that they can count on our full support and determination to bring offenders to justice.”
If you have made a false report you can own up by ringing the false reporting amnesty hotline on Freephone 0800 731 9431 or speaking to a police officer in February 2009.
If you know someone who has made a false report you can provide information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is an independent charity who will not want your name, just your information. Your call will not be traced or recorded and you do not have to go to court or give a statement.