Every crime is different so every investigation is different, but any investigation starts with the same steps to make sure we have all the information we need.
On this page we'll explain what happens after you report a crime, when you'll get a crime reference number and when we’ll contact you.
Assessing your report
First, we’ll make sure that we’re the right police force to investigate the crime. For example, if it took place in a train station, British Transport Police (BTP) would be the right force; we'd send them your report and they'd investigate.
We’ll then look at the information we've got and decide if we can investigate your report further. If we decide we can't investigate your report, we'll contact you to explain why.
Our decision is based on four key factors:
vulnerability of the victim (eg is the victim in danger?)
seriousness of the crime
likelihood of solving it
best use of our resources
If we can investigate further, we'll take some initial steps. These could include:
talking to witnesses
assessing the crime scene
checking CCTV or video footage
gathering other evidence such as forensic samples
searching our intelligence database (to see if other crimes have happened in the area, or if we hold information related to the case)
In the unlikely event you need to go to court, the investigating officer will support you up to the first hearing. Following the first hearing a member of the Witness Care Unit will contact you directly and will guide you each step of the way.