What happens after a crime is reported?
When a crime is reported, the police decide if they can investigate the case. Investigations can take a long time and some cases are never solved. They might not be able to catch the offender, or there might not be enough evidence to charge someone with the crime.
Find out what happens after you've reported a crime (on gov.uk website)
When is a caution or penalty notice used?
In some circumstances, the police can decide to deal with a crime by giving:
- a caution or warning
- a police fine, called a penalty notice
Find out more about police warnings and penalty notices (on gov.uk website)
What happens when someone is charged with a crime?
The Crown Prosecution Service decides when someone should be charged with a serious crime and taken to court. They may not prosecute if it's unlikely that someone would be convicted, or if it's a minor crime and a first offence.
In Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria, Crown Prosecution Service North East prosecute criminal cases investigated by the police
In undertaking this role, CPS North East continues to:
- Advise police forces in Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland on cases for possible prosecution.
- Review cases submitted by the police for prosecution.
- Determine the charge in all serious cases.
- Prepare cases for court.
- Present those cases at court.
Outcomes in Your Local Area
The public can access outcome information for local crimes at the POLICE.UK website simply by entering a postcode.
The publication of this information provides the public with an opportunity to follow up a crime they may have reported, witnessed or just heard about in their local area.
Monthly Prosecution Performance
The Crown Prosecution Service publish outcomes monthly per region and by offence. These are:
- Offences against the Person
- Sexual Offences
- Burglary Offences
- Theft and Handling
- Fraud and Forgery
- Criminal Damage
- Drugs Offences
- Public Order
- All Other Offences Excluding Motoring
- Motoring Offences
- Administrative Finalisations
Links to local conviction performance statistics are listed on our Performance page.
What happens in court?
The court will hold a hearing where magistrates or a jury decide if someone is guilty of the crime. Most crimes are dealt with in a magistrates' court. The most serious crimes (like murder or robbery) are passed on to a higher court, called the Crown Court.
Find out more about criminal cases (from open.justice.gov.uk website)
How are offenders sentenced?
Magistrates (in a magistrates' court) or a judge (in the Crown Court) decide on how offenders are sentenced.
The magistrates or judge must consider the need to:
- Punish the offender
- Protect the public
- Change the offender's behaviour
- Get the offender to make up for their crime
- Cut crime in the future
Find out more about how sentencing works (from open.justice.gov.uk website)
What types of court sentence are there?
When a court finds someone guilty of a crime, the most common sentences are:
- A court fine
- A community sentence - (e.g. a curfew, unpaid work or going on a drug treatment programme)
- A prison sentence
- A suspended prison sentence
In a suspended prison sentence, the offender serves their sentence in the community, but if they commit another crime they will usually be sent to prison.
Find out about sentences (from open.justice.gov.uk website)