Giving a statement to the police
A statement is a written or in certain circumstances a video-recorded account of what happened. A statement can be used as evidence in court. Before making any statement, the officer will ask questions to find out exactly what happened.
Contacting the police to make a statement
When police are investigating a crime, they will record statements made by witnesses. If you're aware of a crime and want to make a statement, you can contact police:
- in an emergency, by telephoning 999 - It's an emergency where a serious injury was caused or a crime is happening and the suspects are at or near the scene
- when it isn't an emergency, by telephoning 101
- by going to the local police station during opening hours
To find police station opening hours, go to:
Information needed in your statement
When making a statement you should tell the police as much information about the offence as you can. This includes:
- descriptions or names of anyone involved or witnesses to the crime
- the registration number of any vehicles that were at the place when the crime happened, even if they were not involved the driver may have seen something
- descriptions, identifying marks or serial numbers of any stolen or damaged property
Giving a written statement
If you give a written statement, the police will normally ask to come to your home or ask you to visit the police station.
The police realise that talking about what you have witnessed can be a difficult experience. If you find making your statement distressing, you can ask for a break at any time.
Once the statement has been written, the police officer will ask you to read it to check it's accurate. You can ask the police officer to read your statement to you.
You will be asked to sign the statement to say that it is an accurate account of what you think happened. If something is not right, tell the police officer so that they can change it. It is very important to do this, even if you feel nervous about doing it, as it could affect the investigation.
Sometimes the police may need to speak to you more than once, for example, if they need to check information.
Giving a video recorded statement
In some cases, if the police believe you to be ‘vulnerable’ or ‘intimidated’ as defined by law, you can make a video recorded statement instead of a written statement.
Video recording is mostly used if you are under the age of 17 (soon to be 18) or are the victim in a sensitive case, for example a sex crime. You will usually be asked to go to a specially equipped video suite, which is situated in certain police stations. In some cases the police may bring recording equipment to your home or other venue that you have agreed.
The police officer who is carrying out the interview will explain how it’s done before the recording begins. If you are a young person making a video recorded statement, a supporter will be with you during the interview.
The police officer will not discuss the evidence that you are going to give before the interview is recorded. This is to make sure that you give the most accurate description of what you saw or know.