Police declare war on lying crime victims'
PUBLISHED: 15:43 16 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:27 07 September 2010
A MAN went with a friend to a Camden police station to report that his mobile phone had been robbed. Officers took the details including the mobile number and then rang the phone - the ring tone was immediately heard coming from the friend
A MAN went with a friend to a Camden police station to report that his mobile phone had been robbed.
Officers took the details including the mobile number and then rang the phone - the ring tone was immediately heard coming from the friend's jacket pocket.
False reporting of robbery is a growing problem for Camden Police with 110 detected false reports of the crime in the last seven months alone. Of those more than half were related to mobile phones.
Detective Inspector Adrian Lewis, head of Camden's robbery squad, said around 10 per cent of all robbery reports in Camden are made up.
"This problem diverts resources from dealing with actual crime and also distorts crime figures. The resources must go where they are really needed.
"Up to 15 or 20 hours of police time can be spent just doing the preliminary investigations of a case, such as checking CCTV, getting witness statements and driving the suspect around.
"If the report turns out to be false a lot of time is wasted."
To combat the problem, officers from the team are working to find the fake reports.
DI Lewis added: "The false reports come from the whole spectrum of the community.
"The reasons can be people wanting to upgrade their phone, deceive their partner or it can be as simple as children wanting an excuse as to why they are late home.
People often give a false report just to get a crime reference number in order to make an insurance claim."
Anyone found making a false report could be prosecuted or issued with a fixed penalty notice of £80.
In another example of a false report, a man claimed he had been robbed of a huge amount of expensive camera equipment.
He told police he had been chased down a hill by a robber who caught up with him and took the kit.
In fact, he had fallen asleep and not noticed a thief taking the stuff. Police discovered he was lying because it would have been impossible to run with the heavy equipment he claimed was stolen.