National charity Crimestoppers has received over £90,000 for a new London campaign encouraging the public to report ‘hidden’ crime.
Its Hidden Harms Project will run through the charity’s Sutton headquarters, focusing on crimes including human trafficking, modern slavery, domestic abuse and hate crime.
The campaign helps to reduce crime by encouraging people to report anonymously early signs of abusive behaviour to Crimestoppers, preventing escalation.
The grant comes from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder.
The initiative has already been successful in other parts of the UK.
In Yorkshire and the Northwest, the project saw an over 150% increase in reports from the public in the campaign’s first four months.
In one case, someone contacted the charity with details of 20 people who were being held as slaves, leading to more than a dozen arrests and the safeguarding of victims.
The new London campaign aims to reach at least 100,000 people across the capital each year.
Crimestopppers’ data shows a 20% increase in reported levels of hate crime in London in 2017/18 compared to the previous year, which is disproportionately higher than the rest of the country.
Alison Gowman, Deputy Chair of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust committee, said:
“Crimestoppers’ Yorkshire campaign, which shines a light on the importance of reporting these crimes, has already been a success.
“Now this new initiative will uncover the hidden crimes happening throughout London’s communities.
“We want to make our capital a safer place for everyone and it’s clear this project can make a huge difference in our city.
“Tackling disadvantage and exploitation essential to making London a fairer and better place in which to live.”
Bill South, Chair of the London Volunteer Committee for the charity Crimestoppers, said:
“This will enable Crimestoppers to deliver our Hidden Harms Programme in London over the next three years.
“It will bring a number of different abuse-related crimes into the spotlight, encouraging members of the public to be aware and keep an eye open for these types of abuse and then report their concerns or what they know to us whilst staying 100% anonymous.”
Crimestoppers is the only organisation that guarantees anonymity to everyone contacting it by phone or online with information on crime.
They work closely with police and other law enforcement agencies – including the Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit at the National Crime Agency (NCA) – and refer to specialist charities such as Victim Support where appropriate.
Human trafficking and modern slavery are the fastest growing of international crimes and the second largest source of illegal income for organised criminality worldwide.
Nearly 15% of all court prosecutions for domestic violence relate to abuse from a partner, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Despite the high numbers of these crimes, many cases are not reported to the authorities due to their complex and emotional nature.
Recent changes to the law mean police can press charges without a complaint from the victim, making reporting via Crimestoppers charity a reliable option for gathering information to support ongoing investigations.
City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.
The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.