ROMAIL GULZAR WAS INTRODUCED TO CRIMESTOPPERS THREE YEARS AGO, AND HE SPEAKS TO BETHANY MCLEAN ABOUT HIS INVOLVEMENT WITH THE CHARITY, AND WHY HE HAS NEVER LOOKED BACK.
Grass. Snitch. Informer. These words have all become synonymous with shame, ostracizing those who report crime. This perception means that people are increasingly scared to admit when they have information, even if that evidence may be crucial for getting a criminal off the streets and making our families safer. However, this palpable fear means that many refuse to speak out publicly and name offenders, sensing that it is not worth the implications on themselves and their loved ones.
This is where Crimestoppers comes in. The national organisation was founded in 1988 by Lord Michael Ashcroft, and the charity prides itself on the promise of anonymity – meaning that anyone who calls to report a crime will not have to give their name or provide contact details, they will not have to give a statement to police or appear in court. Mr Gulzar describes this as the most important aspect of Crimestoppers because “If you report a crime to the police they usually take down your details and they can trace your calls. Crimestoppers never does that, and this makes people feel safe.”
As Managing Director of Pukaar News, Romail was introduced to Crimestoppers in 2011 by esteemed Leicester businessman Vic Sethi. He describes the meeting as life-changing, saying “I had never really heard of it before, but I was blown away by the idea that you could report a crime with complete anonymity – I really do believe Crimestoppers make a huge difference.”
He met Lord Ashcroft in the House of Lords, which inspired his decision to work closely with the charity. Romail was eager to support them using the skills he was most equipped with – the media. “I believe that media awareness plays a big role, and I hope that we can raise the public perception of the brand through our campaigns and advertising, which I am now involved with on a national level. Hopefully, the more people within the community that know about it, the more crimes will be stopped.”
Making people safer is Crimestoppers’ top priority. Their work has led to the arrests and charges of over 127,000 people, as well as £129 million of stolen property being recovered and £312 million worth of drugs being seized. Mr Gulzar credits this astounding success to the large volume of public support which includes financial donations, but also extends to the hundreds of volunteers who give up their time to help the charity.
He stresses that the charity’s development is hugely dependant on continued support from local people and commented: “I am appealing to everyone to speak to Crimestoppers and get involved, whether this is by volunteering or just raising awareness by letting your friends and family know that the service is available. It will help you to save your neighbourhood, save your community, and even save yourself.”
For more information about Crimestoppers visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
To report a crime anonymously call 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org/ give-information