Reporting a crime
One way to report a crime is to go in person to your local police station
If you are a victim of crime, you need to think about whether or not to tell the police. This is called reporting a crime.
It's quite natural to feel unsure about this or worried about what will happen if you do. Perhaps you think the police will not care or that they will view the crime as too trivial. Maybe you've had a bad experience with the police in the past. Or perhaps you're worried that involving the police will make things worse or cause the offender to target you again.
But there also positive reasons for reporting a crime. Remember that the police deal with all sorts of crime every single day. They also have a responsibility to treat everybody fairly and equally and to put your safety first.
If you don't report a crime, there will be no investigation, and very little chance that the offender will be caught or brought to justice for what they have done. This also means that more people may suffer what you've been through.
The police also keep records of all crimes reported to them and this information goes into government statistics about crime. This influences how crime is dealt with by the police and other parts of the criminal justice system. If officials don't have a full and clear picture of crime, it makes it harder for them to deal with the problem.
One other benefit of reporting a crime is that you will then, automatically, be put in touch with Victim Support. This means we can help you to cope with both the emotional and practical effects of the crime.
At the end of the day it's your decision about whether or not to report a crime. If you're still not sure, we can talk it through with you and give you all the information you need to make the right choice.
How to report a crime
You can report a crime in several ways:
- if it's an emergency and the crime is still taking place, call 999 and ask for the police
- if it's not an emergency, do not call 999 as this could hold up genuine emergency calls. This does not mean the crime is not important - it just helps the police to prioritise their resources. Many police forces have a non-emergency number, so you can call that instead
- you can also drop in at your local police station and report the crime there. You can find the address and telephone number in the local telephone directory or on the internet
- you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you want to remain anonymous
- if you are a victim of hate crime you can contact 'third party reporting centres' in most areas of England and Wales. You can also report online via True Vision
Here to help, whether or not you report the crime
Victim Support will help you whether or not you report the crime. Our service is confidential, and we will not pass on information to the police without your consent unless we think someone is at serious risk of harm and urgent help is needed to protect them.
And because reporting a crime could lead to a court case, we'll be on hand to support you if you are called at a Witness. Our Witness Service has staff and trained volunteers in every criminal court in England and Wales.
One more thing to be aware of
If you've been a victim of a violent crime you could be entitled to compensation under the government's criminal injuries compensation scheme. But be aware that to make a claim you must have reported the crime to police as soon as possible after the event. If you don't report a violent crime, it may prevent you from getting compensation later.