Victims of certain crimes across Thames Valley, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight can now directly communicate with case-handling police officers through a new trial.

The Victim's Portal, a first-of-its-kind service in the UK, allows those who have reported a crime to track the progress of the investigation and even message the officer in charge.

After reporting a crime via 101 or 999, or through the website, victims receive a link to access the portal.

They will find the name and number of the officer handling their case and their crime reference number.

Updates can be requested through a two-way messaging feature.

Witney Gazette: Police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, Matthew BarberPolice and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, Matthew Barber (Image: Thames Valley Police)

Matthew Barber, Thames Valley police and crime commissioner, added: "Improving the communication between the police and the public is a key priority.

"It is a focus in my recent Crimefighters Strategy and the public need to know they can get hold of the police when they need help.

“I am excited to see the results of this trial.

"This technology will not only support victims of crime to have that two way personal communication with an officer about their case, but it will have a much wider impact on the contact between the public and the police."

However, the portal isn't universally accessible yet.

It is currently being trialled using 50 per cent of crime types that meet specific risk criteria.

Victims are invited to use the portal through a text or email invitation after reporting certain crime types.

The portal aims to provide a centralised platform for victims to access important information.

This includes their crime report, victim rights, and available support services.

Those without access to the required technology can still reach out through traditional contact methods.

Witney Gazette: Chief superintendent Simon DoddsChief superintendent Simon Dodds (Image: Thames Valley Police)

Chief superintendent Simon Dodds, head of contact management for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, said: "This is a trailblazing piece of new technology, putting victims at the heart of what we do, which is a priority for us.

"We know that being a victim of crime can be a really traumatic time, so we are trying to make this process as easy as possible for our victims.

"Feedback from victims so far has been very positive, with many saying how easy the portal is to use, and that they are pleased to have that personal contact method."

Both Thames Valley and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight forces have seen high engagement with the portal.

In Thames Valley, 4,716 victims logged in 18,475 times since the portal's launch on September 19, 2023.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight saw 4,527 users access their portal 18,462 times from its debut on August 2, 2023.

The two-way messaging feature, live since February 7, has seen more than 800 messages passed between victims and police across both forces.