SMART-PHONE apps are making it easier for people to report crime, according to a new report.

The study, called From a System to a Service, says an app launched in September 2013 has also enabled the police and courts to provide a better experience for victims and witnesses.

Gwent Police is said to be one of seven forces to have received “very satisfied” ratings from one or more of the early users of the Self Evident app.

According to the study, published today, victims and witnesses have praised the free app for its ease of use, saying it gives more reliable evidence, saves time and makes the police more accountable.

Witness Confident, the charity behind the Self Evident app, say it will determine the success of moves to recast the Criminal Justice System as a service which is seen and supported as such by the public.

Charity director Guy Dehn said: “Victims and witnesses have a choice whether to report crime. Respecting them and respecting this should be at the heart of any reforms”.

The app also allows photos and video to be attached when providing evidence or reporting crime. It also allows users to keep a copy.

“By giving victims and witnesses a sense of ownership and control over their involvement, apps can give people the confidence to come forward”, Mr Dehn added.

Witness Confident wants the Government to encourage similar initiatives and is calling on ministers to make clear whether they expect victims and witnesses to pay for the services, or if the costs will come from public funds.

The charity has also recommended that police chiefs and police and crime commissioners provide information about such apps on their websites.