Witnesses: What to do if you witness a crime
If you have witnessed a crime it's important that you come forward to us at the earliest opportunity. Your information may help solve a crime or prevent others being put in danger.
The criminal justice system couldn't work without witnesses - you are the most important element in bringing offenders to justice.
What to do if you witness a crime
In an emergency
If the crime is happening contact us on 999 immediately to report it.
In any other situation
If it's a crime that has already happened and no one is in immediate danger, or you know something about a crime and want to tell us, call us on 101 or tell Crimestoppers what you know anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you've already come forward, thank you. We value your help and will do everything we can to support and help you through the witness process.
Frequently asked questions
I've made a witness statement to the police what happens now?
Once you've made a statement you may be asked to give evidence in court, but this may be some time afterwards as cases take time to prepare. You'll be kept updated on progress during the investigation.
What happens to my statement?
Everyone involved in the case will read your statement, including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the solicitors and magistrates or judge.
If a suspect is charged with an offence in relation to the incident you witnessed, your statement - along with all other evidence - will be provided to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who are responsible for prosecuting people who have been charged with criminal offences in England and Wales.
Will anyone be given my address?
No, your address is recorded on the back of the witness statement and the suspect (the defendant) and his or her solicitor are only given a copy of the front of the statement.
Witnesses are not usually asked to give their address out loud in court.
What happens if someone is charged?
If you are a witness to an offence in which someone is later charged, we will tell you what the defendant has been charged with, whether they have been released on bail to attend court or held in custody and what bail conditions have been imposed (if any).
You will be kept updated until the case has been dealt with.
What if someone tries to intimidate me?
It is a criminal offence to intimidate (frighten) a witness or anyone helping the police with an investigation.
If you're harassed or threatened in any way you should tell us immediately.
How often will I be kept updated?
The Witness Charter sets out the standards of service that you can expect as a witness to receive at every stage of the criminal justice process from the police, lawyers and other criminal justice agencies.
After you give a statement, if the offence is of a very serious nature and we have told you that you are likely to be asked to give evidence in court, we will seek to update you: at least once a month on the progress of the case until the investigation is closed; or at the point at which someone is charged, summonsed or dealt with out of court.
Is there anything else I should do during the investigation?
Yes, it is important to tell us:
- If you left anything out of your statement that you later remember or if it's incorrect
- If your address or phone number changes
- Dates, when you may not be available for court, for example, holidays and hospital appointments
101 is the number to call when you need to contact Nottinghamshire Police and it’s less urgent than a 999 call. Calls cost 15p, no matter how long the call lasts.
Crimestoppers is not the police - it's an independent charity helping to find criminals and solve crimes.
Give information anonymously on 0800 555 111.