If you've been a victim or witness of crime, you'll normally be asked to give the police a statement so they can understand what happened.
A statement is a written account of what happened and can be used as evidence in court. You can make a statement when you report the crime or at a later date.
A police statement is different from a victim statement and a precognition statement.
Usually your statement will be taken by a uniformed police officer and can take place anywhere, including:
- your home
- a police station
- in the street – if that's where the crime happened
- hospital – if you're injured
The police may need to speak to you more than once, for example if they need to check information.
It's important to give a statement because it's part of the evidence the police collect to investigate your case. Try to give as much information as possible.
Giving a statement
This can be a difficult experience, so you can ask for a break at any time. You can also have a person of your choice or your legal representative with you.
There may be circumstances when this isn't possible. If this happens the reasons will be explained to you.
What you'll be asked
The police need as much detail as possible to help them investigate the crime. They may ask you for:
- descriptions of anyone involved
- descriptions or names of any witnesses
- a registration number of any vehicles, even if they were not involved in the incident (the driver may have seen something)
- descriptions, identifying marks or serial numbers of any stolen property
The police may need to take evidence from where the crime took place. The procedures may vary depending on the type and severity of the crime.
They may take fingerprints or photos. This will usually be done by a specially trained Scenes of Crime Officer.
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've been raped or sexually assaulted, there's guidance available to help you give the police as much evidence as possible.
After you have given your statement
The police will discuss with you:
- how you'll be kept informed of the progress of the case
- how they will deal with your case
- what you can do to help
The police will give you a victim care card, which includes:
- acknowledgement of the incident in writing
- what help and support is available to you
- the crime incident number (the reference for your case)
It's important to keep a record of your crime reference number, as you may need to quote it on an insurance claim.
You can also use your reference to contact the police about the progress of your case or with any additional information you remember at a later date.