The police conduct the investigation into alleged crimes. They need to gather sufficient evidence to be in a position to charge an offender.
A police officer will be assigned to be in charge of the investigation. You should be given this police officer’s name and a contact phone number.
Among other matters, the police will want to take a detailed statement from you, covering all aspects of the offending. Sometimes the questions that police must ask will be difficult or embarrassing to answer. You are not legally required to answer police questions but police will only be able to lay charges if they are fully informed.
After you have provided your statement to police, you may remember something you forgot to mention. Alternatively, you may discover something new that is relevant to the crime. It is important in these circumstances that you contact the Investigating police officer to let him/her know any additional information concerning the crime.
If you have been assaulted, the police may ask you to see a doctor who will examine you and document your injuries.
Police may need to take away some items of property that belong to you or others that were involved in some way in the offending. This may be necessary in terms of evidence at the trial. If this happens, ask police for a receipt when the items are taken.
It may be that some of the items can be returned to you before trial. However, if the items are necessary as evidence to be used at trial, you may not be able to have them returned until after the completion of the trial.
Police may need to take photographs of the crime scene or check for fingerprints. They may ask you to leave certain things untouched until this is done.
If the identity of the offender is in question, police may ask you to look at photographs or attend an identification parade to try to identify the offender.