What happens after a crime is reported

Once you have reported a crime, the police will investigate it. To do this, they may need to get some more information from you. They may call at your home, or they might ask you to come to the police station, or they may just speak to you in the street, if that is where the crime has happened. If you have been injured, and have to go to hospital, they may visit you there.

Normally a uniformed officer will speak to you first.

If the crime is of a sensitive nature, such as a sexual crime, you can ask to speak to an officer of your own sex.

If you have been the victim of a crime, you will normally be asked to give the police a statement in order to help them build up a picture of what happened. The police will give you a crime number, which is the reference number for your case. You may need to quote it on an insurance claim or if you want to speak to the police later about your case, so please keep it safe.

Police officers are trained in interviewing victims and witnesses, but it can sometimes take quite a long time to get all the information they need. The police realise that interviews can be a difficult experience, so if the interview is distressing, you can ask for a break at any time. Sometimes the police may need to speak to you more than once, for example if they need to check information.

The police need as much information as possible to help them investigate the crime and to find other evidence. This includes:

  • Descriptions of anyone involved
  • Descriptions or names of any witnesses
  • Registration number of any vehicles even if they were not involved in the incident, as the driver may have seen something
  • Descriptions, identifying marks or serial numbers of any stolen property.

Sometimes, the police will need to take evidence from where the crime took place. The procedures may vary depending on the type and severity of the crime.

For example, they may take fingerprints or photos. This will usually be done by a specially trained Scenes of Crime officer.

The police know how stressful and sometimes embarrassing it can be to have fingerprints or other samples taken, and they will try to be sensitive.

If you’ve been injured in an attack, the police may need to collect medical evidence so they can prove in court what happened.

If you suffered a sexual crime, specialised information is available here for victims of rape or serious sexual assault.

You may be eligible to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. More information is available here.