What is a preliminary investigation?

After a crime has been reported, the police carry out a preliminary investigation. A preliminary investigation must be carried out, if there is reason to suspect that a crime has taken place on the basis of the reported crime. The preliminary investigation is mostly carried out at the police station in which region the crime has taken place. Due to police resource shortages, the preliminary investigation may sometimes take a while.

During the preliminary investigation, the police investigate what has happened and what damages have occurred to the victims of crime. The police will question the victim of crime, the suspect and any witnesses, as well as collect evidence, such as e.g. various statements, photos, and carry out technical investigations. Even the slightest matters the victim has about the crime should be informed to the police for the preliminary investigation.

The time of the questioning can be agreed with the police. If an interpreter is needed, the police shall arrange this, if it is informed at the time of agreeing a time of the questioning. In some cases, the police may also carry out the questioning over the phone. In questioning, and later in legal proceedings, the victim must tell about all matters related to the case and he/she must tell the absolute truth.

A report on the questioning shall be prepared, and the victim must sign this to confirm the correctness of the details. Before signing, amendments and additions can be requested to be made to the report, if necessary.

In simple and clear cases, the police may deliver a so-called brief preliminary investigation, if nothing more than a fine is expected to be issued for the felony. Such crimes include, for example, endangering traffic safety, petty theft and the use of narcotic drugs. When the preliminary investigation is completed, the police collects the material into a preliminary investigation report, if it is necessary in terms of further investigation, and delivers the material to the prosecutor. The victim and the suspect have the right to obtain a copy of the preliminary investigation report. If the victim does not want his/her contact details to be disclosed to the suspect, he/she should inform the police.