05/06/2012 03:00 BST | Updated 05/06/2012 05:31 BST

Crime-Tracking Apps: Police Technology Should Allow Victims To Follow Case Through The System Claims IPPR

Victims of crime in England and Wales should be able to track their case online from the moment it is reported to the point when its perpetrators are brought to justice, according to a leading think tank.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that being left in the dark about what was happening in a case was a key source of frustration for victims, undermining their confidence in the criminal justice system.

Police forces should develop crime-tracking applications so that people can follow their cases through the system, the IPPR recommended.

Online "crime maps" should be made interactive and display real-time information, which could help prevent and reduce crime, the think tank recommended.

It is calling for details on the progress of cases - including arrests, investigations, judgments and transcripts - to be published online by the police, courts and Crown Prosecution Service, as long as it is legally safe to do so.

crime track

A form of crime-tracking technology is already used by Avon and Somerset Police, their welcome page offering you to tap in your crime reference number and access records.

It praised a pioneering website called TrackMyCrime, set up in March last year by Avon and Somerset Constabulary to allow victims of crime to access the progress of the investigation of their crime as well as contact the officer leading the investigation.

The IPPR also said criminal justice agencies should automatically refer victims to online support networks, or agencies such as Victim Support should set up forums.

The report concluded: "The effectiveness of the criminal justice system depends crucially on the public's confidence in it.

"Given that so much of that confidence is linked to information and communication technology, this potentially enables us to develop a more transparent, accessible and responsive criminal justice system with victims at its heart."