Victim and witness support
We are dedicated to improving the service we provide to victims and witnesses of crime.
The following advice contains information about what happens once you have reported a crime.
It includes the investigating process the City of London Police follows, the rights of victims and witnesses, what happens when a case goes to court and how to get further support.
If you need to report a crime please visit our 'reporting a crime' page.
The City of London Police is committed to supporting victims and witnesses, however we accept that sometimes you may need more support than we can offer.
Therefore when you report a crime to us we will ask you if you are happy for your details to be passed to an independent charity called Victim Support. They help anyone affected by crime – not only victims and witnesses, but their friends, family and other people caught up in the aftermath.
If I report a crime what am I asked? Why should I report crime?
However you report a crime to the City of London Police you should expect the officer carrying out the initial investigation to ask you a number of questions regarding the incident. These are examples of questions you should expect to be asked:
- Your contact details, including email address if applicable
- The details of the crime, including any potential evidence such as forensics, CCTV or house-to-house enquiries
- Your expectations of the police response
- His or her role as the initial investigator of your crime
- Any particular vulnerability that you feel you may have
- Offered referral to Victim Support
- Whether you have been a victim of crime in the past
- Crime prevention advice
- The next steps including what happens to your crime report and decisions about further investigation
- Your understanding of the information given
If you are reporting crime relating to property you will be asked details such as the IMEI number for a phone, a serial number for a bike or computer. Whilst we will record your crime if you do not have this available, provision of this at an early stage will ensure that we can record these on a national database upon your report of crime, which will enable your property to be returned to you if it is recovered.
I've reported a crime what happens next?
It is your choice whether you report the crime to the police. Some people choose not to report or may not report straight away for reasons that are important to them. We encourage you to do so and in turn we will listen, give guidance and support whilst treating you with dignity and respect. We recognise that you may have concerns about the impact of reporting some crimes, we will provide you with information about the options available to support you through that process.
Your information may:
- Help us catch and prosecute the offender
- Stop it happening to somebody else
- Help us identify patterns of behaviour or hotspots and put our resources in the right place to deal with them.
- Provide a true picture of what is happening in the community
- Help us to develop projects to combat hatred towards people
What will City of London Police do?
For every crime we will:
- Carry out an investigation and look at the details of the crime and any potential evidence.
- Establish if there are any linked crimes, this may then result in us increases resources to that area.
- Log any stolen property onto a database, so that it could be returned to you if recovered
- Offer advice and reassurance
- We will pass on information about you to Victim Support - unless you ask us not to.
What should you expect from us as a victim of crime?
When you report a crime to us we will always carry out an initial investigation and there are two possible outcomes:
Initial Assessment by the Crime Management Unit (CMU)
Following a report of a crime the CMU will carry out an assessment. This will consider:
- The seriousness of the offence
- The evidence available that will assist in solving the crime
- Level of available resources required proportionate to the seriousness of the offence
1.Transferred for further investigation
If your crime is transferred for further investigation, it will be allocated to an officer who will contact you within 24 hours to discuss the crime, and establish how often you would like to be updated.
If somebody is arrested, there are three possible outcomes:
The suspect is told they will go to court about the alleged law they have broken.
An official warning is given to the suspect
No further action
There is not enough evidence to charge or caution a suspect and no further action will be taken against them.
2.Investigation will be discontinued
Every report of a crime is important to us, but where there are no or limited factors we can investigate, or factors that are not proportionate to the offence, we will close the crime.
You will still receive a crime reference number and any property stolen will be added to a national database to enable it to be returned to you if recovered at a later date.
What should you expect from us as a witness of crime?
If you have been a victim of crime, we understand that this can be a very distressing experience and can affect people in many ways. In the City of London Police we are committed to providing you with a professional high quality service that is tailored to your individual needs and concerns.
- Always treat you politely and fairly with dignity and respect
- Identify and support vulnerable victims
- Discuss with you how we are going to deal with the suspect(s) including the options to deal with your crime dependent upon the circumstances.
- We will comply with our specific commitments under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
- Provide details to Victim Support Services unless you ask us not to once you have reported your crime
- Provide you with a crime reference number within 36 of the initial investigation
- Inform you in writing whether a crime will be investigated within 5 days of it being reported
- If a crime is passed to a secondary investigator, that officer will contact you within 24 hours
Giving a statement
If you have been a witness of crime, the City of London Police is committed to supporting you through the process by addressing your individual needs and concerns and keeping you informed.
- Always treat you politely and fairly with dignity and respect
- If you provide a statement to police, your needs as a witness will be assessed. This information will be used to decide how the investigation of the case will proceed, and to ensure that any arrangements are made to meet your needs at court.
- Keep you informed when the defendant has been charged or bail and any conditions of that bail
- Our Witness Care Unit will keep you informed throughout the process, supporting your needs and concerns prior to court and updating you on the court result.
- The Witness Charter tells you how you can expect to be treated by the police if you are a witness to a crime or incident.
Will I have to go to court?
If you have been a victim or witness of a crime you may be asked to give a statement to a police officer.
A statement is an account of your experience and will play an important role in bringing an offender to justice.
A statement can be written or video recorded. A police officer will ask you questions. Once the interview is finished, they will prepare a written statement from what has been said and compile a written statement from what has been said and you will be asked to read through it to check it is correct. You will sign the statement to say that this is an accurate account of what you think happened, so it is important that you tell the officer if any of the details require correcting.
As well as a witness statement, you may be asked to provide a Victim Personal Statement (VPS). A VPS is your opportunity to record how the crime has affected you. It is an official document that will be seen by all parties in the case and gives you a chance to tell the criminal justice system about any support you might need.
After a police investigation if the offender is charged the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will decide whether to prosecute and take a case to court and if you have given a statement as a victim or a witness you may be required to give evidence in court.
If your case goes to court, our Witness Care Unit will keep you informed throughout the process. They will be your single point of contact and will address any concerns you may have.
If you are vulnerable or intimidated you may be able entitled to special measures in court. These are a series of provisions that help vulnerable and intimidated witnesses give their best evidence in court and relieve some of the stress associated with giving evidence. They may assist you if you need help giving evidence or if you are being threatened or intimidated.
These measures can be:
- Screens in the courtroom to prevent the witness from seeing the defendant
- Live links allowing a witness to give evidence away from the courtroom
- Evidence in private - this allows a witness privacy by clearing the public gallery in cases involving sexual offences and intimidation
- Removal of wigs and gowns by judges and barristers
- Visually-recorded statements – these allow a witness to use a pre-recorded video statement as their main prosecution evidence
- Intermediaries – these are specialists who help witnesses with communication difficulties
- The use of communication aids e.g. alphabet boards
If you are a victim of crime where you have suffered an injury, damage to your property or loss of earnings you may be entitled to compensation.
You will need to talk to the officer handling your case if you want to seek compensation.
If you have been injured by a violent crime, you can apply for compensation under the government’s criminal injury compensation scheme. To qualify you need to apply within two years of the crime being committed.
Find out more about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.