Reporting suspicious activity to the Police

Reporting suspicious activity to the police

Reporting suspicious activity to the police is vital for preventing crime and protecting vulnerable people, says Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cadd, the force lead for Intelligence.

DCI Cadd says there have been numerous examples of people posting on social media when they’ve seen activity that concerns them, rather than contacting the police.

He wants to encourage people to report via the form on or call 101 if they’ve witnessed something unusual. A seemingly small piece of information could be the missing link that helps convict a prolific offender or take down an organised criminal gang (OCG).

DCI Cadd says: “If something doesn’t feel right, it often isn’t, so please report it to us. If you’ve seen something you think we need to know about, you can contact us through our website, by calling 101 or anonymously though Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Essex Police receive up to 6,500 pieces of intelligence a month. All of it is assessed, qualified, researched and developed by the 30-strong team in the Force Intelligence Bureau.

Information received from the public has led directly to the discovery of cannabis grows and the prosecution of gang members.

DCI Cadd says: “Every piece of intelligence builds a picture. Something reported today may not lead to immediate action but as we get more intelligence in the following weeks or months, that initial piece of information may become key for us in getting a warrant, taking enforcement action, or identifying someone involved in crime.

“You don’t always get golden nuggets, but our specialist intelligence officers will put those snippets of information together to form a holistic picture. Every piece of intelligence has a value.”

Intelligence submitted by the public has led directly to convictions.

Once new information has been assessed it is then sent on to the relevant teams. For example, new intelligence about a County Lines drug supply will go to our specialists in Op Raptor and the Serious Violence Unit, whereas calls about burglaries and robberies will be fed to the intelligence teams in the local policing area.

Essex Police share an intelligence system with seven neighbouring forces in the south and east of England, and also pass on information with partner organisations including Trading Standards and Border Force.

As part of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, DCI Cadd is also responsible for the team whose job it is to turn information into proactive police work to tackle OCGs.

“They look to develop intelligence, see if it fits into any of our mapped organised crime groups or any of our current organised crime threats, and look to create enforcement opportunities against those really serious high-end criminals who are impacting society and preying on vulnerable people in our communities.”

DCI Cadd says that information received from the public has helped his team secure significant convictions and safeguard victims, and he wants to be clear about the importance of the role the public can play in helping to combat crime.

“The public of Essex have more eyes and ears that the police do and our ability to bring criminals to justice and combat crime at all levels is greatly enhanced by the intelligence they provide us.

“The information provided and identity of anyone contacting us is protected but for anyone not comfortable with talking directly to the police, Crimestoppers is an independent, anonymous way of reporting.”

For more information on reporting suspicious behaviour, head to the Intelligence pages on our website. If you witness a crime in progress, always call 999.