Making Notes

If you have been involved in any incident with the police or you have witnessed an incident, it is advisable to make and keep full notes as soon as possible after the events in question. The police are allowed to refer to notes in court. This happens not because police officers have some special status as witnesses - they do not - but because the notes are contemporaneous, that is, notes which are made at the time or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter. Contemporaneous notes are not in themselves evidence, but they can be used to refresh the witness's memory.

You have the same right to use notes. A delay in writing the notes of several hours or even a day or so may not prevent you from using the notes. Even if you cannot use them at court they will be a helpful record of the events.

If you are detained at a police station, Code C provides that you should be supplied on request with writing materials. This may be delayed in certain circumstances. When making notes:

  • Write out a full and legible note of everything that happened in the correct sequence of events.
  • Write down everything that was said, word for word if possible, particularly any conversation you had with police officers.
  • Record the names and numbers, if you know them, of the police officers involved.
  • Sign the notes at the bottom and put the time and date.
  • If you see a solicitor, hand over the notes and make sure you get a copy to keep for yourself.
  • If you are going to court, take the notes with you.
  • If there are witnesses to the incident, take their names and addresses if possible and ask them to make notes.
I f you have been injured, for example, by the use of excessive force by the police during your arrest, you must:

  • Have photographs taken if there are any visible injuries.
  • See a doctor so that your injuries are recorded.

The photographs and medical evidence may be of great value to you if you are charged with a criminal offence or if you wish to make a police complaint or sue the police.
kitsiteLottery Funded