Greater Manchester Police is officially launching its innovative new online chat service in time for England’s first World Cup semi-final in almost 30 years.
The new system has been running as a pilot for the last six months but now the Force is encouraging people to go online when possible and speak to a specially trained advisor at the click of a button instead of picking up the phone.
In response to public feedback, the Force is encouraging people to use it and the information already available on its website in the lead up to England’s game on Wednesday and ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to the UK on Friday, two events that will put increased pressure on policing.
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling said: “We work really hard to deal with everything that comes in to us in the best and most efficient way possible and remain committed to protecting the people of Greater Manchester. However, we need the public to work with us, think before they call and do everything they can to support each other and keep our communities safe.
“This past weekend we saw almost 8,000 calls to 101 and 999 – an unprecedented increase. The hot weather, weekend drinking and the World Cup all play a factor, all of which are set to continue this week with the semi-final on Wednesday. We’re also set for a busy few days at the end of the week with Donald Trump’s visit to the UK.
“Please think before you pick up the phone. Do you really need us? Is the information on our website? Could you talk to us via LiveChat? We’re always here to help anyone who needs us, and always will be, but everyone needs to play their part.”
LiveChat can be used between 8am and midnight to:
- Report a crime
- Give police information about their local area
- Get an update on a crime they have already reported
- Ask an advisor anything police related
It’s been introduced to help meet an ever increasing demand for services online and sees the Force listen to and work with communities to give them the most efficient service possible. Public feedback during a recent consultation highlighted that more and more people want to be able to access services online.
During the pilot, GMP’s LiveChat saw 14,237 conversations take place for anything from noise complaints and neighbour disputes right up to disclosures of domestic abuse and modern slavery.