You should in the first instance report a crime to the police.
You can do this in a number of ways:
Emergency: In an emergency dial 999 or 18000 for textphone users. An emergency is where serious injury has been caused or a crime is in progress and suspects are at the scene.
Emergency SMS text service: The police operate an emergency SMS text message registration scheme to help those with certain disabilities contact them in an emergency. This service also enables the police to pass on requests for assistance to the fire and ambulance services. The service is only available to pre-registered users who have completed an application form (further details and an application form are available on the police website http://www.psni.police.uk).
Non-Emergency: Where the incident is not urgent telephone 101.
Hate crime: Where the incident is not urgent telephone 101, then dial 2.
This is in addition to the other ways of reporting the crime set out in this section.
Third party reporting: If you really do not want to or cannot report the crime yourself, someone else can report it for you, such as a family member or voluntary organisation. They would make the initial contact with the police. You would still be involved later in the proceedings.
Call at your local police station: Where the incident is not urgent you may also report it at your local police station, during opening hours.
The crime may also be reported in the following ways:
Crimestoppers: If you do not want to give your name you can report a crime anonymously by calling the freephone Crimestoppers charity helpline on 0800 555 111. This service is not part of the police.
Harbour or Airport incident: Where the incident has occurred within the grounds of Belfast International Airport or Belfast Harbour you should contact Belfast International Airport Constabulary on 028 9448 4400 (extension 4412)/Mobile 077 1081 9183 or Belfast Harbour Police on 028 9055 3000. Where a major or serious incident such as murder, an act of terrorism or armed robbery has occurred these can also be reported to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Incidents at Belfast City Airport will be dealt with by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, through the contact numbers above.
Police Ombudsman: If you believe that a crime has been committed by a police officer you should report it to the Police Ombudsman who will investigate and may make recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal prosecution.
If you are a victim of crime you are entitled to be informed by the police of the following information and to have the reasons explained to you without unnecessary delay of a suspect being:
You are entitled to be informed by the police of the following information without unnecessary delay of the police receiving it:
Victims and witnesses are not parties to criminal proceedings and are therefore not eligible for legal aid in Northern Ireland.
If you are required to attend court to give evidence you may have to pay for aspects like your travel. You can apply to have this money paid back. This is subject to time limits for claiming money back and standard rates for travel and subsistence costs, as well as maximum daily amounts for loss of earnings. Expenses are not paid for making a statement to the police about the criminal offence.
Details of how, under what conditions expenses can be reimbursed by the Public Prosecution Service and the rates that apply can be found at http://www.ppsni.gov.uk/Publications-7873.html.
If a decision is taken by the Public Prosecution service not to prosecute, and you do not agree with this, you are entitled to ask for a review of the Public Prosecution Service decision.
The right to a review of a Public Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute applies regardless of a crime type or potential court tier. Where the decision not to prosecute is taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions, and that decision cannot be reviewed by a higher authority, the review may be carried out by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Further detail on the right to a review and how this operates can be found at http://www.ppsni.gov.uk.
If you know something about an incident you may be asked to give evidence in court for the prosecution or defence.
For the purposes of the Victim Charter, a "victim" is:
If you know something about an incident you may be asked to give evidence in court for the prosecution or defence. If you know one of the people involved in the case, you may be asked to provide evidence as a character witness, usually by the defence. In either event, your evidence can be crucial to securing the conviction or the acquittal of the defendant.
The Victim Charter sets out the entitlements for victims. It is available here: https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/publications/victim-charter.
If you have witnessed a criminal offence, but are not a victim, you can access services under the Witness Charter. It is available here: https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/publications/witness-charter.
If you know something about an incident you may be asked to give evidence in court for the prosecution or the defence. If you know one of the people involved in a case, you may be asked to provide evidence as a character witness, usually by the defence.
If you are a victim of crime a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) gives you an opportunity to explain in your own words how a crime has affected you, whether physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way. This is different from a witness statement about what happened at the time, such as what you saw or heard.
You are entitled to be offered the opportunity to make a VPS once a decision has been made to prosecute someone for the crime.
The VPS gives you a voice in the criminal justice process. However you should not give your views on the defendant, any other or alleged offences, or on any punishment you think should be given. This is because these views are not admissible in court. Before the statement is given to the judge, the Public Prosecution Service will remove any information that should not be in it.
The victim personal statement will be used in court if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty. It will be seen by the prosecutor, the defendant, their legal representative and the judge. where a person is convicted of an offence the court must consider relevant parts of the victim personal statement when determining the sentence. In some cases it may not be possible for a statement to be considered if the case is dealt with very quickly by the courts - for example. if there is an early guilty plea or the case is dealt with at the first court appearance.
You are entitled to:
If you are a witness during the trial you are entitled to:
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