Reporting a crime

If you have witnessed a crime, or a crime has been committed against you, tell the police. The police will need as much information as possible to investigate a crime. Any information you give may be able to help, even if there are other witnesses to the crime.

Ways of reporting a crime

There are a number of ways of reporting a crime:

  • in emergencies, phone 999
  • for non-urgent matters, phone the police on 101 (if you're a Tesco mobile or giffgaff user call 028 9065 0222)
  • information can be given anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

If you really don't want to report the crime yourself, someone else can report it for you.

Reporting to the police online

If you're a victim, witness or third party you can report non-emergencies, including non-emergency hate crimes, online anonymously at this link:

What you should tell the police

Wherever possible you should tell the police:

  • as much information as you can about the incident (location, time, descriptions of those involved)
  • if you know who the victim is or how they might be able to contact them
  • if you're worried about your own or your family's safety so that they can give you the right advice
  • if you think the offence was aggravated by sectarian or racial abuse or hatred or any other form of hostility such as homophobia or based on disability
  • details of any other witnesses
  • how the crime has affected you
  • your contact details, or any changes to your contact details in case the police or the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) need to contact you again
  • if you notice any further changes since the incident as to how the crime has affected you

Reasons for reporting a crime

Don't worry if you decide not to report what you know about a crime to the police at the time it happened. You can tell them what you know at a later date.

If you do decide to report what you know to the police be assured that they will be sensitive to your concerns. The information you give them can:

  • help to bring the person who committed the crime to justice – this could help to prevent further crimes and protect others from becoming victims
  • help your community - all crimes and anti social behaviour have a negative effect and reporting them can help the problem be addressed
  • help you - you may find it helps to talk about what has happened and your feelings about it

Reporting a crime for someone else

The police do prefer that the victim reports the incident directly, because they will know the full details of what happened, but they will be sympathetic to other people making the initial report of the crime. Particularly, in those cases where the victim feels unable to because of the distress it has caused them.


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