As a result of cuts in police numbers and the closure of the majority of London police stations, the methods that we used in the past to get in touch with the police are no longer effective.
999 is still the number to call when the situation is urgent, and there is a "hotline" available for reporting terrorist activity (0800 789 321). But for non-urgent communication many people don't find calling 101 very effective. In fact, some police forces have now ceased using it because it takes up so much of their time, though it is still available in London.
A much more efficient method of contacting the Met - from the point of view of both the person reporting and the police - is to use their online Report tool, which will provide the them with the relevant information in an organised form.
To use the reporting tool visit the link at the bottom of this report. You will be taken through a series of interactive steps which will pinpoint the location of a problem or incident, narrow down its nature and allow you to upload video footage.
The range of incidents or concerns that can be reported is very wide. What use the police will make of the information depends, of course, on various factors, not least how specific you can be when reporting and whether you can provide evidence and witnesses. Naturally, police availability and priorities come into the equation as well, but even if no action is taken on a particular piece of information, it's still worth reporting it, because it may be used to build up a bigger picture of persistent crime or antisocial behaviour.
To use the Report tool, visit www.met.police.uk and click on Report.