If you have been the victim of a crime, it is important that you understand the steps that come next and how to receive the support you need.
When you report a crime to the police, they will take information about the offence and the crime will be recorded. You will be given a crime reference number, and you may be asked to provide a statement. ‘You’ve reported a crime, what happens next?
As part of the investigation, the police will look at all the information available including forensic and any visual or audio evidence.
If there is likely to be useful evidence at the crime scene, they will send a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI). They will look for any useful forensic material, such as fingerprints or DNA, and will check it against various databases to see if they can match it with a possible suspect, or link it to another crime scene. Find out more about CSIs
Important: If you have been told that a CSI is going to attend to examine your property (this may be your home, your car or your business) it is important not to move or touch anything.
If there are no immediate lines of enquiry, your case will be investigated with other, similar cases. Often, by identifying patterns and similarities within batches of crime the police are able to find the offenders, recover stolen property and stop the problem.
There are times when the investigation will have to be closed – which happens when no further lines of enquiry are found and no further information is available. However, this does not mean that the case is forgotten – if the police receive further information at a later date, they will review your case and may be able to solve the crime.
If a suspect is charged with an offence, there will be a court process and you may need to give evidence as a witness in the case. Find out more about the Criminal Justice process
If you are a victim of crime, or are a close relative of someone who has died as a result of a crime, then you are entitled to information and updates about your case from the Police.
You can find out more about this in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime which details the service victims should expect from the Police and other partner organisations.
You can use the TrackMyCrime service to keep up to date with your investigation and stay in touch with the lead officer.
The Right to Review scheme enables victims of crime to seek a review of certain decisions taken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or the police. For more information please click the links below.
There are many organisations that provide a range of support services for victims and witnesses. This website allows you to search for these organisations by type and by area, so that you can find the most appropriate organisation for your needs. Click here for Help and Support