What kind of evidence can the police collect?
It is important that police get as much evidence as possible to help prove the case if it goes to court.
Evidence may include:
- physical evidence such as clothes you were wearing, or other property related to the crime
- photographs and fingerprints at a crime scene
- medical evidence if you have been assaulted or injured.
Providing as much evidence as possible will help if the case goes to court.
You can choose whether to give medical evidence – but it can be important to the case.
Police must give you a receipt for any property they take as evidence.
The police may ask you to:
- see a doctor who will examine you and document your injuries. It is up to you whether you are examined, but a doctor's examination could provide important evidence to identify and prosecute an offender.
- have your injuries photographed to use as evidence in court
- sign an authority to release medical documents. This is to make sure this information can be included as police evidence to help prove the case in court.
If your property is needed as evidence
Some items of your property may be related to a crime. If so, the police may need to take these for use as evidence at court. Police must give you a receipt if they take away any of your property.
If the property is needed as evidence at court, it may not be returned until after the case is finished.
You can expect that the police will:
- look after your property
- return your property as soon as possible.
If you do not want the property back for any reason, you can ask the police to dispose of it for you.
Identifying the offender
Police may ask you to look at photographs or to attend an identification parade to try to identify the offender.
Returning stolen property
Where an offender has been found guilty of theft or burglary, you may apply for a court order against them for the return of your property.
If any of your property have been lost, sold or destroyed, the court may order the offender to pay you the value of the goods. This is called 'restitution'.
You can read more about seeking compensation from the offender for details on how to apply.