Ex-gang members, victims of crime, community volunteers and law enforcement came together this week to discuss how more criminals can be caught across the East and West Midlands, thanks to the charity, Crimestoppers.

The first Crimestoppers Midlands Conference, held in Rugby, celebrated 25 years of success of the charity in the UK and encouraged fresh ideas from community safety representatives in reducing the threat of crime. Exciting news and updates about the future were also shared by the charity.

Key speakers included Police and Crime Commissioners, Ron Ball from Warwickshire and Bill Longmore from West Mercia. They both agreed that Crimestoppers is a vital organisation in the fight against crime, and plays a key role in supporting the most vulnerable communities to tackle issues such as rural crime, business crime and serious, organised criminals.

Chief Constable, Andy Parker confirmed this: “In Warwickshire alone we have had 700 pieces of actionable information from Crimestoppers last year, which lead to 17 arrests made as a result. That’s 700 pieces of information and 17 arrests we would not have had, had it not been for Crimestoppers.

Marcia Shakespeare, mother of Letisha, who was murdered in Aston, Birmingham on 2nd January 2003, spoke passionately about her campaigns against gang crime in West Midlands. Marcia has offered alternative pathways for over 25,000 young people in schools and Pupil Referral Units. She said: “It’s fantastic to have Crimestoppers providing a system where people can give information without having to go to the police. We all know there are lots of people in our society who don’t like talking to the police, so this is a really important tool.”

Ex-gang members, now working with Crimestoppers’ youth service, ‘Fearless’, talked about the innovative work of the charity to engage with young people to stand up to crime safely. Amongst these individuals was Greg Gibson, who has been a volunteer with the Fearless Team for the past 2.5 years. Greg spent his time hanging around in gangs from the age of 11 and had been excluded from school but managed to turn his life around. He now uses his past experiences to help other young people to avoid making the choices he did as a young boy, having seen some of his peers who made those same choices, not live to see their 25th birthday.

Bill Cullen, Deputy Chief Executive, Hinckley & Bosworth Council and Volunteer Crimestoppers Chair for the East Midlands said: “Young people who are close to criminals and who are afraid to talk to police need Crimestoppers. It is our responsibility to help them.

The importance of helping young people was also addressed by Bill Griffiths, a long-serving Trustee of the charity who first brought Crimestoppers to the UK in 1980’s; “There is a need to focus on young people as they make up a large proportion of victims of crime. The charity works with the community, police and media to fight crime successfully.”

Crimestoppers Regional Manager for the West Midlands, Pauline Hadley, commented on the day: “It was inspiring to hear from so many key people who value the achievements of Crimestoppers and our engagement with vulnerable communities. Criminals don’t recognise borders, so why should we? Communities are asking us to help them to get criminals off their streets. We can do this with the help of volunteers and organisations across the Midlands working together.

“At the conference, new plans for a major national advertising campaign were revealed to encourage more individuals to give information about criminals to the charity anonymously if they choose not to go to police. Community safety and law enforcement agencies confirmed the importance of the guaranteed anonymity offer and their commitment to supporting the only crime fighting charity in the East and West Midlands. “

If you have information on a crime and want to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through our Anonymous Online Form.

 

ENDS

For more information please contact PR & Media Officer Giselle Lares on 0208 835 3737 or email giselle.lares@crimestoppers-uk.org.

 

Notes to Editors:

  • Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps the police to solve crimes, making communities safer. It does this by operating the 24/7 telephone number 0800 555 111 which people can ring to pass on information about crimes anonymously. They can also use our Anonymous Online Form which can also be accessed by internet-enabled mobile phones.
  • Around 22 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers.
  • Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over a million actionable calls, resulting in over 120,000 arrests and charges. Over £125million worth of goods has been recovered and over £292 million worth of drugs has been seized.
  • In 2005, Crimestoppers launched the UK’s Most Wanted on its website which allows the public to view images of criminals and pass on vital information about their whereabouts. It has been highly successful with over 1,900 arrests to date.
  • Crimestoppers UK was founded by Lord Ashcroft, KCMG PC, Chairman of Trustees. In 1988, he launched Crimestoppers in the Metropolitan Police area. Crimestoppers’ ‘call to action’ is built on a three-way partnership between the business community, the police and the media.