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Giving Anonymous Evidence To The Police

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Captin Kirk | 12:48 Wed 30th Oct 2013 | Law
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Without going into too much detail we have been asked by a former neighbour to contact a policewoman he is dealing with to discuss the experiences we had at our previous home with our then next door neighbour.

We had problems with an aggressive neighbour but sold up and moved away before it became a situation we could no longer deal with and required police involvement. It is now a period of time since we moved and we have got our lives back on track when the other neighbour has found out where we moved to and made a request for us to talk to the police, anonymously if we wish, just so the policewoman can build a case against this man and also strengthen his evidence.

Our natural instinct is to stay well away from this and not get involved as our daughter became a very nervous and anxious child as a result of the troubles which we are still trying to help her overcome.

We never moved to far away due to financial and family reasons but have so far (touch wood) not cross paths with him again but know this will probably happen eventually.

My query is why would a statement from an "anonymous" help this neighbour or the police as surely it wouldn't hold much weight in court? Also any evidence we give would be very specific to our experience of him and if used against him would be clearly obvious who the police had spoken to.

Hope this all makes sense.


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Yup you are right, evidence is not evidence if given anonymously. Its different from giving information anonymously via something like crimestoppers

Once you've given a Statement, I believe it is an offence not to appear as a witness in Court if called-on to do so.
Hopefully someone will know more detail.
Baldric, you can't give an anonymous statement can you? I mean you have to be there witha policeman?
Question Author
That's what we thought so why would he or the police want to talk to us? Also what is the difference between this and crimestoppers?
Keep in mind, if Baldric is correct, you may have to appear in court if called upon. And you've relocated just to get away from this neighbour.

I didn't mention 'anonymous' statement as far as I know,
I was just warning what I believe can happen if you give a statement.
If you know or suspect that someone is doing something illegal, then you can phone crimestoppers anonymously and say what you you might phone them and say that you think your neighbour sells heroin Police may act on that information BUT that information is not evidence, not admissible in court and while it may result in an arrest, can't be used to secure a conviction.
sorry Baldric, the OP was asking about talking to police anonymously.
Question Author
The key word I suppose then is "statement". The neighbour who contacted us said he understood if we did not want to get involved and can talk to this policewoman anonymously if we wanted. I then just thought "what's the point then?". The last thing I want is for the aggressor to work out where this has come from and also as pointed out to have to give evidence in court.
don't get involved.
Question Author
That makes sense Wolfgang, thanks. Maybe I need to add we are talking about ringing this PC, not face to face.
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^^^ woofgang.... oops
If was me, I'd stay out and not get involved.
You would not be required to attend Court if the defendant pleads guilty, if you are called as a witness you should attend or you may risk arrest. I expect the purpose of you speaking to a named police officer is for the police to gather background information on the situation or for the prosecution to show the defendant as a bad character which, in some cases, the court can exclude on the grounds that its prejudicial effect outweighs its positive value. If you decide to assist make sure the police are aware of the limit of your co-operation.
Capn - funnily enough I sold up because next door was mis-treating their dog !

[About a year later she accepted she couldnt look after a dog and it went to a farm and freedom ! ]

TW has given good advice - actually your instinct is right I think not to get involved - if you think about it they should get their case together with video and cameras without your evidence that the awful neighbours were awful three years ago as well...

and People do meet other people They Would Rather Not in the street. I meet (but not in the dark.... alone) tenants whom I have evicted, and they shout things like "Perv !" and I shout back things like "Pay your bloody rent". Inevitable and part of life.

Memorably, in 1955, a dissatisfied patient ran down the main street of my village - shouting Dr (my father) is an abortionist.
Kept the tongues busy for a few weeks.
If it was me - I'd go with my instinct - all that trouble you went to get away from them - it must have been really bad. I see any involvement as involvement (personal view)and it could get back to the bad ex neighbour. I'd leave it in the past if I could as you are still in the area.... and you have rebuilt your life - dont want this causing you new problems.

Did you log any police complaints /statement at the time ? If not then it may be more a reason to not do so now. Police would no doubt advise you hypothetically but could they protect you if you got involved - I doubt it. I am cynical and I'm just thinking about you here.
Revisiting it at all must be a right pain and unpleasant too.. this guy is desperate and maybe cant move but I'd hate to be tracked down like this. I dont like how this has happened anyway -personally I would hate that.The ex neighbour sounds like he is a thug & will not care who he hurts if his set-up is threatened.
You have no obligation to talk to the police. If you made a formal witness statement, therefore giving your name and address (unless the police decided to withhold the address) it could be used in court or you could be compelled to go to court.

There is no benefit to you in talking to the police . What you tell them cannot be used in evidence or as the basis for a charge, so you won't have improved the chances of anyone being convicted. Anonymous information may help the police a bit; it might lead to the finding of a suspect, or it might help them to form an opinion of a complaint by someone else; but it isn't evidence that can be used. So, if you don't feel like talking to them, don't.
If you dont wanna talk to them - dont
and if you do talk to them, follow through

I agree with Baldric that if you say X to someone
then you should expect to be asked if you said X,
and answer 'yes'. Otherwise keep shtum
(notice I do not say X has to be true)

Life would be much easier if people adhered to this simple rule
This could be an ASBO type application being considered by police where hearsay evidence can be used in certain circumstances and witnesses remain anonymous.

Example from a local authority

"(ASBO & CRASBO) are civil orders and evidence is presented according to civil procedures. However, the burden of proof is the criminal standard, "beyond all reasonable doubt". Civil evidence can provide greater protection to witnesses who are willing to give information to the Police, than witnesses giving evidence for criminal proceedings. Civil procedures allow a Professional Witness to give evidence on behalf of a witness who has refused to attend court through fear or intimidation. The Professional Witness (Police Officer/ Housing Officer etc) can give hearsay evidence incorporating that witnesses evidence to protect and prevent them from being identified. Where a witness may refuse to give evidence criminally but provides details of what they have seen or heard to a Professional Witness, the court can hear this evidence when acting in a civil capacity".

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