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Reporting a crime

Don't sit there stewing: if you know of a crime, tell someone.

The police

You can report a crime to the police in a number of different ways - in person at your local station, to an officer in the street, or by telephone (999 in an emergency, anything else you can contact your local police force). You can also present evidence to the police as a witness, even after the event.

If you have any information about a crime, regardless of whether you think it is useful, coming forward at any time could prove vital to the cops. So don't wait for the reconstruction or the tearful appeal, tell them what you know.

What happens next?

If the incident you're reporting is serious the police will attend immediately. You'll be asked for contact details - straight away if the cop in question doesn't have to give chase - and possibly also a statement. Should the incident wind up in court you may then be asked to appear as a witness. If you're a victim of crime you'll be given a crime reference number. This is often needed when making insurance claims if, for example, your bike has been nicked.


Crimestoppers (0800 555 111) This UK charity helpline recognises that many people are afraid to report information about a crime because they're worried about the consequences. Perhaps they don't want to be seen to be grassing, or the crime in question involves people who could do them harm if they were identified.

Whatever the reason, you can call the Crimestoppers helpline anonymously, and in complete confidence. Nobody will ask for your name, although you may be entitled to a cash reward if your tip off leads to a conviction (just don't let that be a reason for making the call, huh?).

Updated: 05/09/2012

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