A charity which has had a major impact on crime in the Isle of Man celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
The independent organisation Crimestoppers takes information provided by anonymous informants who may not want to engage with the island’s police.
In the past 10 years 1,400 people have provided crime information to the Crimestoppers Isle of Man charity, which is independent of the police.
Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson described the charity as an ‘invaluable tool for people to connect to the police, especially where they may feel vulnerable or in fear’.
He added: ‘Every call to Crimestoppers is anonymous but handled by trained volunteers making it invaluable to the police, victims and witnesses alike.
‘Protecting victims and witnesses has been at the heart of many of my criminal justice reforms and I applaud the dedication of Crimestoppers’ volunteers and the valuable work they do.’
Since the charity was established, in the UK, 129,000 have been arrested and charged with offences and the charity has received and processed more than 1.5 million items of ‘actionable’ information.
In addition, almost £130 million worth of property has been recovered and more than £300 million worth of drugs have been seized.
Philip O’Shea, acting chairman of Crimestoppers Isle of Man, said although crime statistics for the island had reduced to an all time low, with 2,110 crimes recorded to the year ending in March, a drop of 4.3 per cent, there was still plenty for the charity to do.
Almost 50 per cent of crimes in the Isle of Man were solved last year, but that means there were still more than 1,000 which went unsolved.
In addition, he said criminal damage offences had increased by almost 20 per cent in the past year.
‘The charity was established in the UK after a particularly nasty crime was committed. It was clear people had information but no-one was coming forward. People did not want to speak to the police and the charity was born as a way of cracking through that barrier.
‘People were allowed to give information anonymously and as a result arrests were made.
‘If for whatever reason someone does not feel able to speak to the police about a crime, then they can contact Crimestoppers, 24 hours a day, and we will ensure information is passed on.’
A key factor in the success of the charity is the fact that the information is provided anonymously and for that reason callers even from the Isle of Man are dealt with through their national centre based in Surrey, so there is no chance of speaking to someone the caller knows and no chance of them being recognised by the volunteer.
The charity has also moved with the times making full use of digital technology and social media, including the web site Facebook, which keeps people updated. There is also a mobile telephone ‘app’ which allows information to be given anonymously to the team.
‘The charity prides itself that that guarantee of anonymity has never been breached in 25 years,’ Mr O’Shea said.
Crimestoppers Isle of Man is currently looking for a new chairman. For more information contact Mr O’Shea on 460123.
To contact Crimestoppers call 0800 555111.