Reporting a crime
In the sections below you'll find information about what happens at the different stages of reporting a crime. If your question isn't answered below you might be able to find the information in our what happens after a crime or frequently asked questions sections.
Telling the police
If a crime is taking place, someone is in danger or the suspect is nearby, call 999. If it's not an emergency, you can call the police on 101, go to your local police station or report it online.
If you're afraid or nervous
The police should listen to and treat all victims of crime with respect. If you're worried someone will find out that you've spoken to the police, they can make arrangements to be in touch in a discreet way. If you want to report a crime anonymously, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or tell them by filling in the form online.
Is it a crime?
Some forms of anti-social behaviour aren't considered crimes. Even if the police can't investigate the problem, there are other ways you can get help. Find out more about anti-social behaviour.
Keeping up to date
When you report a crime you'll be given a written acknowledgement with a crime reference number. You may need this for future contact with the police. The police will then carry out an 'investigative assessment'. This is where they review all the information they have gathered and decide whether to investigate your report further. The decision is based on three key factors:
- Severity of the offence
- Likelihood it can be solved
- Resources needed to investigate it.
Once a decision has been made whether to investigate further, the police will contact you to explain and offer any advice, if needed. This may be by letter or email instead of a phone call.
If they decide to look into the case further, an investigating officer will be assigned to you. They will act as your single point of contact during the investigation, answering any questions and keeping you updated.
Giving a statement
You might be asked by the police to give a witness statement. This is your written or video recorded account of what happened. It could be used as evidence if the case goes to court. You are entitled to additional support to do this.
The police will also give you the chance to make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) at this time. You can use this to explain how the crime has affected you. If your case goes to trial this statement will be shared with the court. The Ministry of Justice have put together a leaflet with more information on VPS's.
Support after a crime
All victims of crime are entitled to support. You don't have to report a crime to the police to get that support. Find local support by searching in the box at the top of this website. If you do report a crime the police may give your details to your local victim service. Someone from this service should get in touch to see what help you might need.
If you don't want this to happen, tell the investigating officer. You can still contact support services at any time, if you change your mind.
You may also be told about Restorative Justice, where you can communicate/meet with the offender. You can find more about Restorative Justice on the dedicated page.