A controversial scheme that allows victims of crime to submit their own evidence to police via a website has been approved by the Mayor of London.
The system, which has been trialled in north London, means photographs, doorbell and dashcam footage and CCTV material, can be uploaded, without an officer having to visit the victim.
Scotland Yard believes the platform will save thousands of officer hours each year and will speed up investigations.
However, critics fear it will further diminish the relationship between the public and police and will mean vulnerable victims are denied the opportunity of a reassuring face-to-face visit from an officer.
There are also concerns that important investigative opportunities will be lost if officers do not visit the scene of a crime.
But the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has recommended that the technology be rolled out across the capital at a cost of almost £900,000 after being persuaded that it would make crime fighting more efficient.
Rebecca Brown from the victim support group, ASB Help, said such a system made it hard from people to have their voice heard.
She said: "This should not be used as an alternative to officers visiting, speaking to victims and investigating fully. A victim’s voice should be heard, but how can it be heard if they are just uploading evidence?"
There is also concern that the system could discriminate against the elderly or those who are not technically literate and could lead them to not report offences.
Caroline Abrahams from Age UK, said: "The majority of older people are not online so would be unable to engage with the police in this way."
The system, which is operated by Axom (the firm that supplies police body-worn cameras) has been running as a pilot in north London since July last year and has dealt with around 3,500 pieces of digital evidence submitted by members of the public.
It is estimated that by allowing the public to upload evidence, rather than requiring an officer to go and physically collect it, could save the force 27,000 staff days every year.
But there has been criticism from victims who claim that even when they hand the police evidence of a crime taking place, the case is often closed anyway without any investigation taking place.
Last year, a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) recommended that forces made better use of technology in order to ease the strain on 999 services.
The Met has hopes the system will free up officers to tackle violent crime and domestic violence which are its number one priority.