WINNIPEG – If you see someone texting and driving, you can now report that online.
The Winnipeg Police Service is expanding their Citizen Online Police Reporting System. Winnipeggers can now make reports involving non-urgent traffic complaints.
If you see someone run a red light, speeding, driving carelessly, or pass a school bus with its lights flashing, you can use the online reporting system (as long as you aren’t doing it on your phone while driving.)
Incidents involving impaired drivers or any crashes should not be reported online, but via 911.
There is a catch to this process on the police side of things. Should they wish to pursue your tip, they need to lean on you for help in the courts.
“People need to be prepared to be a crown witness in court. We need to send an officer out, meet that individual, take a written statement,” explains Constable Rob Carver. “That statement would be tendered as evidence in traffic court, and that individual who saw [the infraction] has to come as a witness. If they aren’t prepared to do that or it’s not feasible, then the crown is simply unable to pursue that charge.”
For this reason, there’s nothing they can do with anonymous tips for minor infractions. If it’s very serious, they could send out officers if some are in the area.
“It wouldn’t be unheard of for somebody to do it maliciously. For example, ‘I just saw Rob Carver go through a red light.’ ‘Can you give me your name and details?’ ‘No.’ What if it was a vexatious complaint? I think everyone would expect better vetting on our part if it was turned around.”
Police say the online reporting system, which was first launched in 2012 for people to report non-violent incidents where there are no suspects, will ease the amount of time victims of crime will spend reporting incidents.
They say they have seen a 38 per cent increase in online reporting compared to last year, though still deal with a lot of people not wanting to follow through as witnesses with their complaints.