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When you report a crime, the police will decide whether to start an investigation. If your case is investigated, it can take a long time. You also need to know that some crimes are never solved.

We understand how upsetting this can be. We’re here for you if you’re struggling to move forward after a crime.

Keeping up to date

We’ve often heard from victims and witnesses of crime that they feel frustrated by not receiving regular updates. This is because the police will only contact you at important stages of the investigation. They will let you know within five days of the suspect being:

  • arrested
  • charged
  • released without charge
  • released under investigation, with no bail conditions
  • released on bail
  • given a formal warning that is not a criminal conviction – this could be a caution or penalty notice.

The police will contact you at the stages above within one working day if you:

  • are the victim of a serious crime
  • have been repeatedly targeted, harassed or stalked
  • are intimidated
  • are vulnerable.

Deciding which cases go to court

Your case won’t go to court if the suspect is:

  • released without charge
  • given a formal warning that is not a criminal conviction – this could be a caution or penalty notice.

If the police have decided not to take the case any further, you can ask them to review their decision.

The police may pass the information to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The police or the CPS will decide whether the case should go to court. If your case is stopped or changed, you should be told the reasons why within five working days.

The police and CPS will look at whether there is enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. They will also decide whether prosecution is the right action to take.

Your rights during an investigation

You have the right to:

  • be kept up to date by the police
  • be told when the suspect’s been arrested and charged
  • be told whether the case will go to court
  • ask for a review if the case doesn’t go to court, and you don’t agree with the decision
  • apply for compensation in some circumstances

Making a complaint

If you feel that any of the agencies involved with your case have not treated you fairly, you can make a complaint. Each organisation will have a formal complaints process. You should take your complaint to the organisation you’ve been dealing with.

If you need support to make a complaint, we can help you to express your views and stand up for your rights.

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