The police collect all the evidence they will need to take to court. This may involve physical evidence, such as clothes or other property or medical evidence. It's important that police get as much evidence as possible to help the case if it goes to court.

Medical evidence

If you have been physically assaulted or injured, 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, you may not be able to have it returned to you until after the case is finished. You can expect that the police return your property as soon as possible.

If you don't want the property back for any reason, you can ask the police to dispose of the property for you.

The crime scene

Police may ask that the crime scene be left untouched, so they can take photographs or check for fingerprints and other evidence. This might be inconvenient, but they may find important evidence.

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 possessions. If your possessions have been lost, sold or destroyed, the court may order the offender to pay you the value of the goods. This is called 'restitution'.

See Compensation from the offender for details on how to apply.