What Happens Next?

After a crime against you, it’s natural to feel distraught, angry, frustrated – or all three. However, once you recover from the initial shock, you’ll need to decide what to do next. You may feel apprehensive about contacting the police and this too is only natural. That’s why, at Beacon, we’re here to guide you through the next steps and help you get the support you’ll need.

 

The role of the police

When you report a crime to the police, they’ll ask you some initial questions and record the incident. They’ll give you a crime number, which you’ll need to quote when contacting them about the crime. You may also need the crime number for any insurance claim you make because of the incident.  

From here, the police will tell you if they’ll investigate the crime. If they decide not to  investigate, they’ll tell you why not. The same will apply if they open an investigation, and then drop it later.

Once the investigation is up and running, you’re entitled to know how the case is going — the police have a duty to keep you updated.

If the police make an arrest and charge a suspect, they’ll pass the information to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It’s the CPS’s job to decide if there’s enough evidence to take the case to court.

 

The role of the Witness Care Unit

If the CPS decides to prosecute, one of Hertfordshire’s Witness Care Unit Officer's will contact you.

From this point onwards, an officer from the WCU will be your single point of contact. Their role is to support you in the days and weeks before the trial.

If you’re intimidated, disabled or under 18, you have the right to apply to the court for special measures to be put in place for you. These range from putting a screen between you and the defendant to appointing a specialist to help you give your evidence.

The role of the Witness Service

The Witness Service is there to provide you with informaion, practical help and emotional support.

You will be able to speak to them before you go to court. One of their volunteers will also be at court, to help you on the day.

The Ministry of Justice has produced a leaflet called Information for victims of crime. This explains how the criminal justice system works.