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Old 20th Oct 2008, 20:58   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
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Police Statements

A question for all you knowledgeable people please?
I recently gave a voluntary statement to the police, who were very polite, correct and quite charming I should say, so I have no problem at all with that. What I do have a problem with is not being allowed to keep a copy of the statement made (I may be needed as a witness) and so I politely refused to sign the same until I was allowed to take a copy for my own retention. What ensued was not really satisfactory and I refused to sign the statement. Your views please on what is right and wrong learned people.

many thanks
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 21:01   #2 (permalink)
 
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WorkingHard,

If you want I can try and find out the answer for you, I'm a SC Police officer in training.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 21:22   #3 (permalink)
 
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Beware the Specials answer...

Scottish law is different from England and Wales....

Most of the time when I was in the mob, if a witness asked for a copy they got it.

No problems as long as they were a witness and not suspected of being an offender. If that was the case, they would be told that they would be able to refresh their memory, should the case go to court, from their statement should the need arise prior to giving evedence.

If suspected as an offender you woldnt give them a chance to refresh their memories of the lies they might have concocted in order to profess their innocence.


Am house sitting for Champers so don't blame him for my posts....
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 22:15   #4 (permalink)
 
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Watch this piece of advice and take it seriously. I think you have the right attitude. In my opinion if someone wants some information they will not allow you to have then they are dishonest.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 23:40   #5 (permalink)
 
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Ok.. I found out for you... There is a forum (similar to PPRuNe) for police officers so I could get an opinion from others.

The best response I got was:

Quote:
As far as i'm aware a person is not entitled to a copy of their statement. Its an evidence gathering form which conveys a perspective on an incident. If they were required to give evidence at court, then copies are available to certain persons (I am unsure if they are given to witnesses) by not signing the form he is refusing to confirm whether it is a true an accurate account! Maybe the officer who was dealing with it could not word it to satisfy your acquaintance but i cannot think of any examples of anyone allowing a witness to keep a copy of their statement

To be fair to most officers... Most of the time when taking statement we hand write them. So to provide a copy for the witness to sign it would be physically impossible at that moment in time.
Followed by:

Quote:
Look, we need people to help us, that's how we do our job! What on earth is the problem with giving somebody a copy of the words that they signing off as their own?!?

If you can't do it there an then tell them they can pick a copy up from the front counter the next working day. The important thing is that you record their evidence, and if the quid pro quo of that is that you provide them with a copy, well so what?

Don't you PACE jockeys already provide people interviewed on tape with a copy? What's the difference with respect to a written statement?
Hope that helps.
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 06:27   #6 (permalink)

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Quote:
So to provide a copy for the witness to sign it would be physically impossible at that moment in time.
" 'Ang on Ociffer, I'll just pop this on my scanner to take a copy".

Hardly impossible.

Recently my mother had reason to complain about a police officer's behaviour and she wrote to the Chief Constable. The outcome was dealt with satisfactorily with a personal visit from a senior officer to ascertain the both sides.

Try a letter explaining the situation.

Cheers

Whirls
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 15:03   #7 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the reponses so far folks. The thing is I was intrumental in apprehending a thief and this is what the statement was all about. I am very happy to do my civic duty and assist the police as and when required and do not expect anything except courtesy etc. When it comes down to something as simple as a copy of my statement, taken in my 21st century office with scanners copiers etc, I find it very hard to continue to be helpful. If this continues I am very sorry to say I shall have to have a very poor memory as to make a statement not worthwhile!
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 15:44   #8 (permalink)

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I'm just about sure you could request a copy under FoI (Freedom of Information) legislation.

I've recently dealt with a broadly similar request.....

...perhaps a tame lawyer could help?
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 15:55   #9 (permalink)
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"The thing is I was instrumental in apprehending a thief and this is what the statement was all about"

Hope the thief is not having thoughts of you infringing his human rights Having said that, well done for stepping in, too many of us might turn the 'blind eye'
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 16:25   #10 (permalink)
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Ask to have contact with the witness protection scheme . . .
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 22:33   #11 (permalink)
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st they'll probably give a copy of your statement to the crim' and he'll be 'round your door wif his mates to give you a pasting! Good old British justice the good boys always get the shty end of the stick. I'd think twice about being a good citizen again. Take G-CPTN's advice and get on the witness protection scheme before its t...............
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 23:29   #12 (permalink)
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WorkingHard - Seriously, go have a chat with a lawyer, some will give you 30 minutes for free, check with Citizens Advice etc. Purely my thoughts and in no way authoritative but a statement written by them but signed by you is your statement, I would have thought? You should keep the original, as if you had written it yourself, give them the copy - yes/no?
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 06:56   #13 (permalink)
 
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Police statements

When I was a young man I committed a (in my mind at the time) a reply to another (agressive) motorist that was almost unanswerable -- I kicked the side of his car in with my steel toe capped boots. He leapt in his car and drove off like all the hounds of hell were after him.

It was wrong yet felt right. It was about 1970 and the police came to ask me for a statement, but I remembered my Dadīs advice which was NEVER give the police a statement, I didntīt and I heard no more about the matter.

Not proud of it just reminded me of my Dad!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 10:00   #14 (permalink)
 
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I asked a lawyer if he would answer a question for free.

He said, "No. That'll be Ģ25 please!"
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 12:15   #15 (permalink)
 
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Many years ago a colleague had just finished doing up his car and parked in the street outside his house.
Someone reversed out of a driveway across the street, banged in the side of his car and drove off.
He went to the police station to report this and was asked to make a statement.
The officer then inspected his car and charged him with having an illegal number plate (painted on the mini's bonnet) and several other minor infractioms such as havig the tax disc in the wrong place.
Person who hit his car was never prosecuted.
He steered well clear of the police after that.
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 15:02   #16 (permalink)

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Here is another question for the policemen on here.
Back in February of this year a white van man reversed into my car causing 1400 euros worth of damage. He was extremely abusive, threatened to set his dog on me, threatened my wife with violence and drove off to park his van and carry on with his unloading as if nothing had happened. I asked him for his insurance details and he basically told me to f off and that I had no witnesses. It was in central London so by this time everybody who may have seen the incident had disappeared.
I had to call the police because of his refusal to supply insurance details. They duly arrived, in about 10 minutes, and questioned him. Whilst talking to the policemen he admitted reversing into my car. The police, however, in follow up enquiries by my insurance company have simply stated that they did not see the accident and cannot help me further.
Does a verbal statement in front of two police officers count for nothing? Could the police officer not at least tell my insurance company that this statement was made?

flowman
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 15:56   #17 (permalink)
 
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A few moons ago, I nearly killed a motorcyclist.

Wasn't my fault though, I was rolling along at rush hour about twenty or so and the motor bike guy was running up the outside of a queue of stationary traffic when a car full of teenagers pulled out on him, sending the guy across the white line into me, head on at a closing speed of about fifty mph the coppers reckoned.

There were plenty of witnesses, all of whom said it was the kids fault and yet although the driver was charged, the case was dropped for a lack of evidence - the traffic guys had concentrated on clearing the scene rather than getting statements & the cps said nah when it came to court.

That one really pi$$ed me off - I didn't care about the car, it was an old shed of an Audi 80, but I felt very sorry for the guy on the motorbike. It wasn't his fault & he almost died & lost a large section of bowel as a result of the crash & ended up with a limp & a colostomy bag.

I don't know if he pursued it, but I would think he was entitled to feel let down by the police that day.
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 17:24   #18 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
WorkingHard - Seriously, go have a chat with a lawyer, some will give you 30 minutes for free, check with Citizens Advice etc. Purely my thoughts and in no way authoritative but a statement written by them but signed by you is your statement, I would have thought? You should keep the original, as if you had written it yourself, give them the copy - yes/no?
And what is a lawyer going to do? March in and demand the piece of paper which isn't an official statement within a notebook which isn't allowed to be given to a member of public.

Quote:
Many years ago a colleague had just finished doing up his car and parked in the street outside his house.
Someone reversed out of a driveway across the street, banged in the side of his car and drove off.
He went to the police station to report this and was asked to make a statement.
The officer then inspected his car and charged him with having an illegal number plate (painted on the mini's bonnet) and several other minor infractioms such as havig the tax disc in the wrong place.
Person who hit his car was never prosecuted.
He steered well clear of the police after that.
Ah well.. shouldn't have had an illegal car then I'm afraid I have no sympathy.

Sadly it's very hard to catch these people that long after an incident, it would have been good if they caught them.

Parapunter,

Sadly it does happen, in fact it happened to me. My brother was assaulted when he was about 13 by an 18 year old lad. At the incident the police women told me that my brothers face looked very bruised and sore. When we got to court it was thrown out because she said there were no signs of injury.

Quote:
Does a verbal statement in front of two police officers count for nothing? Could the police officer not at least tell my insurance company that this statement was made?
If he made it under caution yes, but you would need the case to go to court and for him to be made guility before your insurance company would take it into consideration.
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 17:31   #19 (permalink)
 
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The most imnportant reason for wanting a copy of a statement is that this is your protection against alteration to it by the Police. As numerous occasions have shown, this is a very real prospect.
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 18:33   #20 (permalink)
 
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In regards to witness statements [under S9 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967] the English Criminal Justice System works on the fiction that a witness statement is a statement made by a witness.In a sense this is true - but - it's actually a statement taken [usually] by a Police Officer,hand written by a Police Officer,in response to prompted questions by a police officer, and written in terms that are often quite alien to everyday speech.There's a caveat at the beginning of a S9 about it being true etc etc and it has to be signed by the witness.Initially, pre-charge, it will be on a Police File.Post Charge it will be on both a Police and a CPS file.It will be served on the Defence post charge and if the matter goes to Trial it will be in typed form.It will always be given to a witness immediately prior to a Trial to read.Go down your local Mags Ct/Crown Ct and you will often see a group of Police Officers [witnesses or complainants] reading them -it's called 'Choir Practice'.
But, if you are a witness, it is your statement and if you want it then write [politely] to CPSand ask for it.If you write to Plod he'll invariably not reply or refer you to the case lawyer.
Obviously in some cases - Domestic Assaults come to mind - at an early stage in the proceedings the Defendant may lean on the complainant to obtain it to see what she's said and CPS may be reluctant to disclose - but - pre trial it will be served anyway on him or his Solicitor.
To reiterate - it's your statement and you are usually entitled to a copy.
PS Don't know I've ended up with this font
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