What Happens After a Crime is Reported?
Once you have reported a crime, the police will investigate it. To do this, they will need to get information from you. They may call or stop by your home, they might ask you to come to the police station, or they may just speak to you at the scene of the crime. If you have been injured, and have to go to hospital, they may visit you there.
Most likely 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, the police will ask you for a statement in order for them to understand what has happened to you. The police will give you a notification booklet, which will contain an incident number, which is the number for your case, contact person and other important information about services for victims. It is important that you keep your notification booklet, because you may need to write your incident number on an insurance claim, a Victims Compensation Claim Form, or use it if you want to speak to the police later about your case.
Police officers are trained on how to talk with victims and witnesses, but it can sometimes take quite a long time to get all the information they need. The police realize that interviews can be a difficult experience, so if the interview is upsetting, you can ask for a break at any time. Sometimes the police may need to speak to you more than once.
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
- License plate 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. This may vary depending on the type of crime and the seriousness of the crime. For example, they may take fingerprints or photos. This could be done by one of the officers on the scene or by a specially trained Crime Scene Investigator.
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 have 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, specialized information is available on this site for victims of sexual assaults.