Reporting crime

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If you've been the victim of a crime or think you have witnessed one, you should report it to the police straight away. Your information could be used to prevent other crimes and help keep other people safe. Find out about the different ways of reporting a crime.

In an emergency always dial 999

If you've been mugged, badly hurt, or attacked in any way, or if you've just seen a serious crime being committed, then you should ring 999 as soon as possible.

Your call should be answered within ten seconds. A trained staff member will ask you to describe what has happened and where you are. They may ask if you need any other emergency services, such as an ambulance.

If the situation is an emergency, a police officer will come to the scene to talk to you. They'll ask you to explain what happened, and they can help you decide what to do next.

How to report non-emergency crimes

If you want to report a minor crime, such as a stolen mobile phone, you should go to your nearest police station to report it, or call your local police in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by dialling 101.

You should call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response. For example, if:

  • Your car has been stolen
  • Your property has been damaged
  • You suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood

Or to:

  • Give the police information about crime in your area
  • Speak to the police about a general enquiry

Victim support

There are people and groups who can help if you have been the victim of a crime. They can help you when you report a crime, when you go to court and after a trial.

Victim Support offer free help and support to victims of crime including:

  • Emotional support - for example, coping with the after-effects of crime
  • Practical help like getting locks changed or help filling in forms for insurance and compensation
  • Advice on dealing with the police
  • Help finding a counsellor

You can contact Victim Support even if the crime happened a long time ago or you haven't reported it to the police.

In England and Wales, you can phone Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit the Victim Support website.

In Northern Ireland, you can phone Victim Support NI on 028 9024 3133 or visit the Victim Support NI website.

How to report crime anonymously

If you want to report a crime, but you do not want to be identified to the police, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Crimestoppers will ask questions about the crime you have information on but will never ask questions about you. If you are at all concerned your call could be traced, reassure yourself by dialling 141 before 0800 555 111, which blocks your phone number. Or use a phone box – it's free. Because Crimestoppers is an 0800 number, calls are free from a landline and don't show up on a BT or cable phone bill.

Alternatively, you can report a crime anonymously with Crimestoppers online.

How to report anti-social behaviour

The first step is to speak to members of your local neighbourhood policing team (their details are available from their neighbourhood page; search for your team with the search button at the top of this page). These teams work closely with residents to help stop anti-social behaviour, so they need to know what's happening in your area. They can provide support and advice, and help you decide how to handle the situation. If you and your neighbour are tenants of a social landlord (the council or a housing association), you can also report it to your landlord.

If the anti-social behaviour is affecting your quality of life, or making you fear for your safety or the safety of others, contact your local police station directly. Staff working there will help you file a complaint.

If the problem is noise-related, your local council could become involved, as councils, rather than police, often deal with noise problems.

How to report a hate crime

The police and the courts treat hate crime very seriously. Hate crime is upsetting for victims and their friends and families, and creates hatred in communities.

Hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person or group of people because of prejudice or hostility about:

  • Race - including culture, nationality and language
  • Religion and belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Transgender identity - including anyone who is transsexual, transgender, transvestite or who holds a Gender Recognition Certificate
  • Disability - including physical or mental impairment, or learning disabilities

The police will treat hate crime as a priority. The courts can also impose a more severe sentence than for a similar crime with no hate motive.

If you think you've been a victim of hate crime, you should report it to the police as soon as possible. Some police forces have dedicated officers to deal with particular types of hate crime.

By reporting it when it happens to you, you may be able to prevent it happening to someone else. You will also help the police understand the extent of hate crime in your local area so they can respond to it better.

If you do not want to go direct to the police, you can also report the crime online at report-it.org.uk or, in Northern Ireland, via the PSNI.

How do I report fraud?

You can report a fraud to Action Fraud any time of the day or night using their online fraud reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.