Were Making Those Records Public
The records USA TODAY and its partners gathered include tens of thousands of internal investigations, lawsuit settlements and secret separation deals dating back to the 1960s.
They include names of at least 5,000 police officers whose credibility as witnesses has been called into question. These officers have been placed on Brady lists, created to track officers whose actions must be disclosed to defendants if their testimony is relied upon to prosecute someone.
In 2019, USA TODAY published many of those records to give the public an opportunity to examine their police department and the broader issue of police misconduct, as well as to help identify decertified officers who continue to work in law enforcement.
Seth Stoughton, who worked as a police officer for five years and teaches law at the University of South Carolina, said expanding public access to those kinds of records is critical to keep good cops employed and bad cops unemployed.
Police Report On Completion Of The Investigation
On the completion of the investigation, the police officer is required to send a report to a proficient Magistrate as per Section 173. In case the magistrate disagrees with the police and considers the evidence inadequate to put the accused person on trial, the bond is taken under Section 169 for appearance before the Magistrate would be quite relevant and useful. The police can carry on the investigation even after the release of the accused person under Section 169 and if sufficient evidence against the accused is found, then there will be the submission of a report by the police as per the Section 173 and the person or the accused will be again arrested for that same offence.
Police officers are expected to make three different kinds of reports at three different stages of investigation:
What Is A Police Report
People file a police report with law enforcement for a wide variety of reasons such as domestic disputes, traffic accidents, burglaries, and home invasions, fraud, theft, stalking, violence, and many other reasons. To file a report, citizens usually begin by calling 911, or their local police departments non-emergency line, to report the incident.
Once a citizen reports an incident, dispatchers assign it to local officers in the area. The police officers travel to the appropriate location via car, motorcycle, or other police vehicles. Then, the officers evaluate the situation, make observations, interview witnesses, record data, and complete forms and reports required by their local police department.
Police officers also initiate the filing of a report to record the data and gather the details associated with criminal and civil incidents such as car accidents, burglaries, assaults, and robberies, just to name a few.
Officers gather and record a great deal of information and data on a police report. This is to help ensure thorough and accurate investigations and to support criminal proceedings if they become necessary. Also, background verification services may use them in background checks. The information contained in the typical police report may vary from county to county, but most capture very similar information.
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When You Report The Crime
The police must give you:
- a crime reference number
- contact details for the police officer dealing with your case
They must also:
- tell you clearly what will happen next
- tell you how often theyll give you an update on their investigation
- carry out a needs assessment to find out what support you should get
- ask a victim support organisation to contact you within 2 days
They must also ask if you want to write a statement about how the crime has affected you. This is called a victim personal statement. It can be used later when the court is deciding on a punishment.
Police Investigation: Its Legal Provisions
Investigation by Police
Investigation by police is the first stage in the criminal proceedings. It is an exclusive domain of police. It serves as a crucial step in punishing the offender. The police have unfettered powers to investigate into a cognizable offence, as per Section 156 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 .
This power of investigation by police is coextensive with the power of the magistrate in the jurisdiction to conduct an inquiry or trial in the case, under the chapter XIII of the Code. The chapter provides for the jurisdiction of the criminal court in inquiry and trial. That, in turn, is applicable to the police in the determination of their jurisdiction as well.
The investigation refers to all the proceedings of police meant for collection of all information on the crime. It helps the police to identify the perpetrator, apprehend him, and collect all materials needed for prosecution of the accused. The two crucial steps in the process of investigation are discovery and arrest of the suspected offender, and the search and seizure of materials considered necessary for the investigation.
The investigation by police is followed by presentation of evidence, arguments, determination of guilt, and imposition of punishment on the guilty by the court. The Section 154 to 174 of the Code lays down the power of police to investigate a cognizable case and its essential procedures.
Cognizable offence means
Processes of investigation
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Reporting A Crime Anonymously
If you don’t want to talk to the police and/or wish to remain anonymous you can report a crime to Crimestoppers by phoning 0800 555111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org and completing the online form.
Giving a statement
A witness statement is your written or video recorded account of what happened to you. A police officer will ask you questions and write down what you have said. You will be asked to read it and sign it with your name. When you sign a witness statement you are saying that you agree the statement is a true account of your experience. Your witness statement may be used as evidence in court.
You should be given the name of the officer taking your statement and their rank and number. You should also be given the name of the officer who will be in charge of the case and their contact details. This may be the same officer who takes your statement..
You will be given a leaflet ‘Giving a witness statement to the police – what happens next?’ This leaflet explains who to contact to find out how the case is progressing and what happens next.
Sometimes people are afraid of making a witness statement. They worry that they will be intimidated by the offender or their friends. This is very rare.
What Should You Do If You Are A Suspect In A Pre
If you learn that you are being investigated as a suspect, you need to take immediate steps to protect yourself. If you are innocent, do not make the mistake of believing that if you cooperate with the police that no charges will be brought against you. You should take these steps:
- Unless you have been arrested, you have a right to leave if you are brought in for questioning and should exercise this right.
- Do not agree to a search unless the police have a warrant. You are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures of your property and you under the Fourth Amendment.
- Do not speak to the police without a lawyer being present. Anything you say can and will be used against you.
- Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. A lawyer can protect your legal rights and build a strong defense if you are arrested. They may also be able to help you avoid criminal charges being filed against you.
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After A Crime Has Been Reported
If you are a victim of crime and contact the police the investigating officer should give you their contact details as well as the leaflet, ‘Information for victims of crime’. You should also receive a letter with more detail about the investigation .
Generally the police will make a judgement based on the information provided to them as to what investigation will be carried out. A police investigation will involve the police speaking to you about the incident.
If the crime is serious or sensitive, then a detective may be appointed to investigate. The police also have specially trained officers to deal with specific crime such as sexual crime, hate related incidents and domestic violence. You will be able to speak to an officer of the same sex if you wish.
In some cases the police may decide they do not need to speak to you again during their investigation.
The police may ask you to make a statement. To do this an officer will ask you a number of questions to find out exactly what happened.
If you have a difficulty understanding English, or if you are deaf or hard of hearing, an interpreter will be called to assist you.
If the offence has just happened, officers may ask you to tour the nearby area with them to help identify the offender, or they may ask you to look at photographs or CCTV images to try to pick out the offender.
Finding The Descriptions Of Crimes For Different Penal Code Sections
Police records usually refer to penal code sections in describing crimes police are investigating.
For example, section 187 of the penal code is for homicides.
How can you find out which crimes the various sections of the state penal code stand for?
The Berkeley Police Department has a list of commonly used penal code sections and which crimes they refer to. Thats at:
At the site check the box next to Penal Code. In the search box type in the number for the penal code section youre interested in .
At the search results page, click on the first listing. That should give you the penal code section youre seeking .
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Facts Versus Opinions In Police Reports
The information contained in the police report can be a fact or an opinion. For example, the date, time, and location of the collision are facts. Fault determinations are the opinions of the police officer.
Regardless of what’s included in the police report, the insurance company, through its own investigation, will come to its own conclusion as to who was at fault for the accident.
S The Police May Take During An Investigation
After an incident is reported to police, the following will likely occur:
- Police officers will meet with the victim in order to investigate the complaint.
- The officers will take an initial report from the victim and any witnesses involved. This report records exactly what happened and helps ensure that all available evidence is preserved.
- The police will gather physical evidence at the site of the incident for forensic examination.
- If there are physical injuries, the police will likely advise the victim to go to the hospital or will see that the victim is taken there right away.
- Following any medical examination, the police will ask the victim to come to the police station to make a formal statement. If the victim is not physically able to go to the police station, the police will make other arrangements.
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What Type Of Information And Data Is Contained In A Police Report
The following are types of data and information that may be included. Please note that there is no universal police report. Information will vary from department to department.
- Identifying information for all parties involved in the incident, including full name, address, phone number, date of birth, social security numbers, driver license numbers
- Date of the occurrence or incident
- Location of the occurrence or incident
- The officers name and ID number
- The names of other officers who were present
- Diagrams or drawings of the scene
- The names of witnesses and their statements
- Reference number
The law enforcement case file may also contain motor vehicle information, as well as specific details of the incident and any evidence associated with the case.
Examples of police reports may include but are not limited to domestic disputes, traffic accidents, thefts, fraud, assault, burglaries, and stalking incidents. Other information that may be available includes crime surveys, crime statistics, calls for service, weather information, and traffic accident surveys.
New York City Department Of Correction
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Are Police Reports Public Records
Many types of police records are exempt from public disclosure. There are two main reasons why they arent publicly available. First, disclosing the information could undermine an ongoing investigation. Second, it could jeopardize someones privacy and safety. In some cases, departments will release certain information related to the report, such as to a reporter doing a story. However, they rarely release a full copy.
What’s In A Police Report
At the scene of the car accident, if you pay close attention you may notice the investigating officer inspecting vehicles, talking to people, measuring distances, writing notes, and taking photographs. The officer is taking some or all of these steps in preparation for drafting the police report. In short, the police report is a summary of the police officer’s investigation of the accident. The report will often contain some or all of the following information:
- approximate date, time, and location of the collision
- identifying information for parties involved in the car accident, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information
- identifying information for witnesses
- statements from the parties and witnesses
- citations and/or violations of law, and
- opinions as to cause of the collision and/or a fault determination.
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How To Make Your Request
In most cases, you should make your request to your local police force which would hold records on local systems. However, if you would like access to information held on national police systems, such as the Police National Computer , you would need to contact ACRO.
If you no longer live in the UK, contact the police force for the area where you last lived.
If you have been in contact with the police because you were a witness or victim, or because of a traffic accident, then this information may not be available to other police forces. In these cases you should contact the police force you dealt with at the time.
Although you dont have to use them, police application forms will help you understand what details you need to provide so they can find the information you have requested. It will also outline what proof of ID they will need to see. For example, they may ask you when you have been in contact with the police and why, and whether you have lived in another part of the UK. You can make a request verbally or in writing. If you make your request verbally, we recommend you follow it up in writing to provide a clear trail of correspondence. It will also provide clear evidence of your actions.
Documents And Statements To Be Forwarded With Report
According to the Section 170 of CrPC, the police officer should forward the report related to the case to the Magistrate all the documents or relevant extracts of the same and also the statements recorded under Section 161 of persons, on whom the prosecution rely as perSection 173.
No extensive test of such documents may be suggested. It includes reports of a post-mortem examination, or chemical examiner, handwriting or fingerprint expert, etc. The accused can demand from the prosecutor copies of the statements recorded by police during the investigation and use it for his defence.
When the report is in relation of a case to which Section 170 applies i.e, a case in respect of which there is sufficient evidence for sending the accused person to a magistrate, the police officer shall forward the report to the Magistrate along with the accused:
- Police officers need to submit all the important and new documents contained after the investigation on which the prosecution claims to depend on other than old documents already sent to the magistrate at the time of the initial investigation.
- The statements which were recorded followingSection 161of all the persons whom the prosecution suggested to examine as its witnesses as per Section 173.
But if the police officer finds it convenient while investigating the case to do so rather than behaving as per Section 173, he may provide the copies of all or any documents to the accused referred to in the Sub-section .
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