Net hits back at UK crime

The Web is the latest recruit for fighting crime, just log on and mail your tip off...

A crime-fighting Web site that employs email to tip-off the police was launched Friday by Crimestoppers Trust.

The organisation already has a telephone tip-off system which, it says, leads to fourteen arrests each day and the capture of one murderer every 10 days.

The experimental email system allows users to send anonymous information via a secure network that removes the sender's address. The site currently has over 30 serious crimes including murder, assault, rape and burglary and features an appeal for help in the high-profile Jill Dando murder case.

Director of the Crimestoppers Trust Digby Carter, believes the Internet will increasingly play a part in the fight against crime. "We are already receiving information via email and surfers are forming an increasingly large percentage of the population," he said.

But despite the high-tech assault on crime, Carter has no illusions about the sites potential impact on crime statistics in the short term. "I can't see the Internet as a significant contributor to the statistics as it is still a developing medium," he said.

Carter confesses the police were initially reticent to give and receive information via the Web but more and more police forces are keen to put cases on the site he says.

The initiative was welcomed by Home Secretary Jack Straw. In a statement he said: "Fighting crime is not just down to the government and the police. I encourage Web surfers to visit the site and find out about Crimestoppers and, if they know something which could be useful, to respond."

The Web site is designed and hosted by ic24, the free ISP owned by Trinity Mirror Group.