Merry Christmas everyone! As we take a collective pause for the holiday Iâ€™m pleased to be able to post this blog and wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope your celebrations have been enjoyable, so far, wherever you are.
Christmas as you know is a special time of year. Itâ€™s a time to take stock of the past twelve months, spend some quality time with family and friends, and plan for the year ahead.
So as I write this, itâ€™s clear that 2016 has been an incredible year on the world stage and a very busy year closer to home. Here at Crimestoppers we launched our fourth Operation Return hunting fugitives in the Netherlands, and in the autumn we marked the 10th anniversary of Op Captura in Spain. Both international campaigns led to the capture of Most Wanted fugitives, in some cases willingly handing themselves in as a result of the publicity.
Our work tackling some of the most tricky crime issues of the day â€“ such as knife crime â€“ continues. At the start of the summer we joined forces with the Sunday Mirror to launch `Drop the Knifeâ€™ with events in London, Birmingham and Liverpool.
Chuka Umunna MP speaking at the Drop the Knife event with the Sunday Mirror at Streatham, south London.
We also supported national station LBC Radioâ€™s week-long campaign which prompted a 50% rise in the number of people contacting us with knife-crime information. This is an important step forward as we strive to give people in areas most affected by violent crime a voice. It also complements our `Say no to gun & gangs violenceâ€™ campaign work in the West Midlands.
As with our work in major cities, our regional projects with police and communities across the UK have tackled pressing problems such as the hidden harms of domestic violence, human trafficking, modern day slavery, FGM, forced marriage and honour-based abuse.
We also focused on helping professionals spot the signs and behaviour of the perpetrators of child sexual exploitation by organising a conference in Halifax with experts including leading criminologists sharing their views on how we can all work together to help prevent more children becoming victims.
This year Crimestoppers teamed up with the UK energy industry to launch Stay Energy Safe â€“ a 24/7 free service for members of the public to report suspected energy theft; Fearless, our expanding youth service, was relaunched with a new website; with a General Election and the Referendum our Electoral Fraud campaigns were extremely timely; and we launched the official Tideway anonymous whistleblowing services allowing employees and contractors to report their safety concerns on one of Europeâ€™s largest tunnelling projects.
The Thames Tideway Tunnel, the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry.
As for the year ahead, with changing times and new technology, itâ€™s a time to press on by refreshing our brand and launching a new Crimestoppers website â€“ all thanks to a donation from Lord Ashcroftâ€™s Cayo Foundation.
With your help, weâ€™ll continue to get the message out about our unique service that allows the public to report crime anonymously, and will work closely with Government, the police, and most important of all, the wider public, to make our communities safer places to live.
So to everyone who supports and works with Crimestoppers, may I take this opportunity to wish you a safe and enjoyable Christmas and a very happy New Year!
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