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You've given a witness statement to the police

This advice applies to England

The police will ask you to explain what you saw, either in writing or on video - this is your witness statement. They’ll ask you to sign it to say it’s true.

People involved with the case - for example lawyers or the judge, will read or watch your witness statement. They might also use it as evidence in court.

The police officer who takes your statement will give you the name and contact details of the officer in charge of the case - you can contact them at any time if you have any questions.

Make sure you tell the police officer who takes your statement if there are any dates you won’t be to able go to court to give evidence - for example if you’re going on holiday.

The police will contact you if they need your help again - for example if they want you to identify a suspect.

What happens next

Just because you’ve given a statement doesn’t mean the police will ask you to give evidence in court. They’ll contact you if you have to go to court to give evidence - this can take some time. This is because court cases can take a long time to prepare.

If you’re the victim of the crime

Someone will contact you if:

  • the police charge a suspect
  • the case doesn’t progress - for example because there’s not enough evidence
  • a suspect is given bail – this means they won’t be held by the police before the trial

Find help and support if you’re a victim of crime on GOV.UK.

How to change or withdraw your statement

Tell the police officer in charge of the case as soon as possible.

The police might try and talk you out of it. This is because they want you to give evidence in court to help settle the case. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to - you should do what feels right.

If you withdraw your statement, the case might still go to court if the police think they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect.

If you want to withdraw your statement because you’re worried about giving evidence, you should tell the police how you feel. You might be able to get extra help in court - check if you can get extra help.

If you’re worried about going to court as a witness

Get free help and support before, during and after the trial from the Citizens Advice Witness Service. Fill in the contact form or call 0300 332 1000 and someone will contact you within 2 working days.

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