CrimeStoppers UK, the anonymous snitching service, has begun a trial allowing suspicious members of the public to text in their crime tips. The intention is to get kids to report knife-carrying compatriots.
The trial will launch at three schools in Tower Hamlets, with a view to a rollout across London and the rest of the country pretty quickly.
Great emphasis has been placed on the anonymity of the service, which has been provided by Anderson Software – a company specialising in snitching software of this kind.
"Due to the massive popularity of text messaging, we felt it was necessary to develop a secure and anonymous means of easy communication between mobile phone users and law enforcement" said Kevin Anderson, CEO of Anderson. One has to assume they thought they could make money from it too.
Messages are encrypted and randomly routed to maintain their anonymity, and the company already provides services in the USA and Canada, where messages have to be precursed with an identifier to get them to the right police department. In the UK messages can just be sent to 88551, and will be routed to CrimeStoppers.
CrimeStoppers reckons around seventeen people are arrested every day based on the tip-offs they're already receiving, and someone is charged with murder every five days. Being caught by a 160-character tip-off would be embarrassing, but given the ineffectual nature of hue and cry these days sending a text message might be a good idea. ®