Making a Police Statement - Information for Accused
When you report a crime to police, you will be asked to provide a statement. A statement given by a witness, including a victim, is referred to as a witness statement.
Even if you have not reported a crime, you may be contacted by the police if they believe you may have information about a crime.
It can be difficult to make a statement to the police, especially if you are providing information about a crime that may have been committed by a family member, loved one or friend.
A witness statement is a report to the police about a crime that you saw or believe you saw. Witness statements help police find and arrest the right person. Police will help support you as a witness.
Information to Include in Your Witness Statement
If you decide to report the crime to the police, they will need all the details you can remember. The police will ask you questions including:
- Your name, address and contact number
- The exact time and location where the crime took place
- Names and addresses of the people involved, if you know them
- A description of each of the people who were involved in the crime - hair color and length, build/weight, height, female or male and race
- A description of what you saw
- If a vehicle was involved, the licence plate number, color and type of vehicle and any injuries
Making a Witness Statement and Who Gets a Copy
Police may audio or video tape you when you are giving your statement. They may ask you to write down what you told them or they may write it for you.
Police will ask you to read the statement and sign it. It is important that you read the written statement and confirm it is completely accurate before you sign it because you may be asked about it as a witness in court. If you realize that you missed something after you signed the statement, provide the information to police as soon as you can. You can ask for a copy of your statement.
Some of the questions the police ask may make you feel uncomfortable. You may wonder why they are important. But things that do not seem important to you do end up helping police arrest someone.
A copy of the witness statement is usually given only to Crown and defence counsel, who can ask questions about your statement at the trial. Defence counsel will likely give a copy of the witness statement to the accused as they prepare for trial.
After Signing the Witness Statement
The police may take you to the scene of the crime if they need to ask further questions. Also, if you do not know the person you saw commit the crime, you may be asked to pick out the person from a line up of people, describe what the person looked like to an artist or look through photographs (called mug shots).
Also, if you had any injuries, the police may take pictures so your injuries can be used as evidence later. If you do have injuries, you may wish to visit the victim of crime section.
Visit Making a Police Statement (Victim) for more information.