How do I report to the police?
You can report in person, on the telephone to 101 or most police services now allow people to report crimes online. You can find your local police force’s website here.
What happens when I report a crime?
When a person reports a crime, the police must record it. They will usually give the victim a unique reference number for that crime. The offence will then be allocated to an investigating officer for them to make enquiries. Make sure you keep the reference, or crime number safe, it means you can add to your case easily if you get more information.
What sort of questions will they ask me?
When reporting any crime, the police will need specific information about that crime. Most services will need your name, address, date of birth, contact details. They will then need to know when the offence took place or the dates in between, as much detail about the offence as possible and with internet crimes what services (i.e. Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram) or the website used.
What happens when the perpetrator is abroad?
Police services in the UK can only investigate and submit prosecution files to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) when the offence has been committed in the UK. That means the suspect must also be in the UK and the offence took place in the UK and be in breach of UK law. However, if the perpetrator is abroad, then the police still have a duty to safeguard victims and provide advice around the crime. On some occasions, they may also be able to liaise with law enforcement services outside of the UK.
What evidence do I need to take to the Police?
Evidence is crucial to any investigation. If at all possible try and make a timeline of the offence and then make sure images, texts, website addresses etc. are clearly shown on this. In most cases the police will need to take a written statement from you and having this written down will make the process simpler not only for the police but also for you. Sometimes it is easier and clearer for both the police and the CPS to do a video interview with you rather than a written statement.
Can the police delete images or videos from someone's phone?
The simple answer is no. The police do not have any powers to require a suspect or anyone to delete information. They may well seize a device as evidence, but ultimately the courts are the only legal process that can compel someone to remove or destroy items.
Am I guaranteed anonymity?
The Police will always do everything they can to make sure you are safeguarded as much as possible. If the case was to go to court, this could include asking the CPS and the court for Special Measures. This can consist of things like screens to stop anyone seeing you, maybe a video link, giving evidence in private and other measures. The police will apply for these things for any vulnerable or intimidated person so that they can provide the best evidence possible in court. It is the court's decision if a victim can have these measures. Some offences have statutory protection for a victim; however at this time the disclosure of intimate images is not one of these, and therefore anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
How do I report to the police?