BARNSLEY residents will be able to contact the police in other ways, after South Yorkshire Police launched an online reporting portal to report crime.

The online portal, which can be accessed through the ‘Report Something’ page of the police website, provides the ability to live-chat with the force for the first time.

Residents can log on to the portal to track the status of their previous reports and read supporting knowledge items relating to incidents.

To manage communications made via the portal, the team has invested in a new Digital Desk team.

This team will dedicate their time to contact made on the portal, ensuring that those who report online receive assistance 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

Assistant chief constable David Hartley, senior responsible officer for the online portal, said: “We are delighted to launch the online portal.

“As a force we are committed to improving our offering to our communities, and our new portal will make it easier than ever before for our customers to make contact with us.

“The portal and all aspects of its functionality will be available and monitored 24/7, the same as our other services, and we are confident this will bring a wealth of benefits to the public of South Yorkshire.”

The portal was launched in November last year, and since then has been used successfully on a number of occasions, including one when a victim contacted the team asking for help after being threatened.

The victim filled in the online form - as she was unable to make a phone call without the offender becoming aware - and officers were deployed to the scene.

Colleagues on the Digital Desk stayed on a webchat with the victim, offering further reassurance until officers arrived.

To access the portal, click here. People must first register for an account to use the portal.