If a crime occurs

Guidance on what to do in the case of burglary or theft.

Do not confront criminals that you disturb as you may be assaulted. A ‘trapped’ criminal may turn violent in order to get away.

Detaining a person suspected of a criminal offence can be dangerous and is not advised. Mistaken identity can lead to the person detaining the suspected criminal, facing criminal and civil sanction themselves and could find they are accused of using excessive force.

It is advisable to take down a full description of the person and secure any CCTV footage for the police.

Action to be taken during a break-in or other incident

  • Dial ‘999
  • Memorise the description of the offender. Remember that brief, simple details are the best. Male or female, approximate age, height, build, colours and style of clothing. Is there anything that stands out about this person? Are there any accomplices?
  • Is a vehicle being used? The registration number would be ideal. If you are unable to get this, note the type of vehicle, colour, part of a registration number. If a van, is there any logo on the side or back?
  • In which direction did the person(s) or vehicle(s) go?

Action upon discovery of a crime

If you arrive at your building and find there has been a break-in, call 101 – the police non-emergency number.  Do nothing else until an officer arrives.

Do not touch or clean anything, preserve the scene of the crime.

Do not try to establish what has been stolen until the police officer says it is ok to enter the building. After the police have finished at the scene, action can be taken to put things back in order.

What the police will want to know

  • The police will try to establish the exact time and date of the offence. They may wish to speak to the last person to leave the premises and the person first discovering the theft or break-in. They will also draw certain conclusions from other observations, such as the appearance of vehicle tyre marks.
  • They will be interested in the method of entry and the way property is removed. Full descriptions of all property stolen will be required, including values and photographs if possible. They will also be interested in any property marking.
  • The police will ascertain if anybody saw or heard anything suspicious, not only at the time of the burglary but also during the period that the criminal may have been planning the crime.
  • There may also be questions asked that are relevant to other areas of criminal intelligence or methods, which may appear totally unconnected with the enquiry. Please try to give as much information as possible and keep them updated of anything you hear which may be relevant.
  • The police will do their best to recover your property and bring the criminals to justice. Their task, however, is not easy. The only help they have at their disposal is the empty scene and the goodwill of people who wish to assist. 

Making a claim

If you need to make a claim on your insurance, it is important to notify your insurance provider as soon as possible.

For more information on how to make a claim on a Congregational policy and to download a claim form please visit the ‘making a claim’ section in the congregational website.