How and where do I report a crime?
To start the criminal procedure of a criminal case, it needs to be reported as a crime. Obtaining compensation for damages also requires that it has been reported. A crime can be reported at any police station regardless of where the crime has taken place. It can be made by personally visiting the police station, by phone or in case of some minor crimes that do not require immediate police action, it can be made with an online form. In this context, for example, bicycle theft is considered as a petty 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.
A report of an offence should be made as soon as possible after the crime has occurred. In this way, the police can begin investigating the crime as soon as possible and settling the crime is easier. A report of an offence can be made even if the offender is under 15 years old. A person younger than 15 years of age will not be held criminally liable in court, but he/he must compensate any caused damages.
If any injuries have occurred as a result of the crime, it is important to visit a doctor as soon as possible. A medical certificate may be needed later in legal proceedings, and both as evidence of the crime and as the basis for possible compensation claims. If it is a case of sexual violence, washing and changing clothes should be avoided before visiting the doctor. If it is a case of burglary, nothing should be cleaned and the area should not be organised before the police have visited.
Crimes, which are subject to a life sentence never expire. All other crimes expire as crime proceedings, which means that the suspect of the crime can no longer 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.
The crime does not need to be reported by the victim of crime. Victim Support Finland’s (RIKU) support persons can offer support in reporting a crime. A crime is often reported at the police station’s general desk, where confidentiality may be difficult. The customer may request for a separate room in order to report a crime. More information on the subject can be found on the Police website: www.poliisi.fi
Sometimes, the victim may think that he/she does not want to report a crime. All evidence is still worth keeping. You might change your mind and obtaining evidential material later on may be more difficult or even impossible. You might come across situations, where the counterparty reports a crime, for example, because the victim has hurt the offender when defending themselves. All memories, including the time of the event, are worth writing down. Contact details of witnesses are worth asking for immediately after the event. Written materials, such as emails, receipts, etc. should be kept.