Reporting a crime

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A crime must be reported in order for the criminal procedure to begin. Claiming compensation also requires that the crime has been reported to the police. A crime can be reported at any police station, regardless of where the crime was committed. It can be done in person by visiting the police station or by phone. In minor crimes (e.g. bicycle theft), which do not require immediate action by the police, the crime can also be reported with an electronic online form . The report can be made, for example, by the victim, a witness of the crime or a police.

A crime that is reported at the police station is often made at the public desk, so confidentiality is difficult. The customer may ask for a separate room for reporting a crime.

A detailed description of what has happened and who are involved, i.e. the crime suspects and victims of crime, are needed for reporting a crime. Any possible witnesses must also be informed to the police.

The following information is needed for reporting a crime

  • Description of what has happened and how
  • Accurate time and location of the crime
  • Name of offender, if it is known
  • Characteristics of the offender (age, height, body, special characteristics of the face, colour of eyes, teeth, speech, hands, movement, clothing)
  • Where to and how did the offender escape
  • If the offender is using a vehicle, the registration number and other characteristics of the vehicle (make, colour, model)
  • Dangerousness of the offender (weapons, state of mind, threats, use of narcotics, etc.)
A report of an offence should be made as soon as possible after the crime has occurred. This enables the police to begin investigations as quickly as possible. A report of an offence can be made even if the perpetrator is under 15 years old. A person younger than 15 years of age will not be held criminally liable in court and cannot be fined, but he/he must compensate any caused damages. The police do not investigate crimes where the prosecution rests with the plaintiff, unless the victim demands punishment or it is necessary to prosecute the suspect of crime in court under general interest. Misrepresentation is a punishable offense.

Crimes expire with time. Such crimes, which have a punishment of life sentence, do not ever expire. The limitation period starts to run from the time when the crime was committed or when knowledge of it was gained. The prosecutor must press charges within the limitation period. Before that the police must have time to investigate the crime. After the crime’s limitation period, the suspect of the crime cannot be charged for the crime. The limitation period of a crime varies between two years to twenty years. For example, an assault that is more serious than simple assault will expire in five years and aggravated assault will expire in twenty years.

Victim Support Finland's (RIKU) support people can provide support in reporting a crime.