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Criminal damage


Answer

If the suspect is still present, you should call the police on 999. If the suspect has left, you should contact your local police force who will take crime details either over the phone or online. It is important to know the time or times it happened between and the size of the window smashed.

You can contact your local force by calling 101 or using the contact details for your local force which can be found at Q727.

If the house is a privately owned, you should take steps to replace the glass and secure the house. Details of approved glaziers can be found online; the police will not provide recommendations. If the property is a council house, you should contact the council to repair/replace the window.

To find your local authority, please see the link in related information.


Answer

The law provides certain protection for 'residential occupiers' from unlawful eviction or harassment in relation to premises. You are a 'residential occupier' if you are occupying premises as a residence (i.e. you live there) either under a contract (a tenancy agreement) or a particular rule of law or legislation giving you a right to remain in occupation.

It is a criminal offence for any person to unlawfully deprive you, as a residential occupier, of your occupation of the premises or part of the premises. Changing the locks would be an unlawful eviction unless you have been officially evicted from the property by a court order or the landlord can prove that they had reasonable cause to believe that you had ceased to reside in the premises.

An unlawfully evicted tenant may use reasonable force to regain entry to their own home, for example, breaking a window, though this will always be judged on an individual basis. If you had been lawfully evicted, you may be committing an offence of criminal damage.

The Tenancy Enforcement or Environment Protection Departments of your local authority, or the Citizens Advice Bureau will best be able to advise you.

To find your local authority, please see the link in related information.


Answer

If your car has been broken into then you should report the crime to your local police - most forces now have the facility to report it online.

If you witness someone breaking into your car then ring 999, otherwise use the non-emergency 101 number.

Even if you are not going to make a claim from your insurance company you should still report the matter to the police, because if crimes are not reported, the police will not be aware of any potential crime patterns and will not be able to take any positive action to prevent it or investigate it.

If there are items in or on the car that you think the offender may have touched then contact your local police station about the possibility of the items being fingerprinted. Items inside the car with a smooth surface such as CD’s or a de-icer can are usually the best for obtaining fingerprints. If the fingerprints are on something that can be removed, keep the item safe pending the advice you receive from your local police. Use gloves when handling any item for fingerprint examination and do not handle it any more than is necessary.

The police do not routinely carry out a fingerprint examination of all cars that are broken into, there are simply not the resources or the time available. However, each force will have its own policy on this and each case will be specific so you will need to contact them.

See the websites in Related Information for details of how to register property and property marking.  


Answer

Whilst there is no legal requirement to report a crime, there is a moral duty on everyone of us to report to the police any crime or anything we suspect may be a crime.


Answer

Below is a brief overview of the different laws concerning graffiti:

  • Graffiti is an offence of criminal damage and can be reported to your local police force via 101. If prosecuted, the offender could face a fine or even imprisonment.
  • Under 16's are not permitted to buy aerosol paint cans.
  • Local authorities can issue fixed penalty notices for offences of graffiti.
  • Local authorities are responsible for cleaning it up from public buildings and fixtures. They can also clean it from private buildings and can bill the owner for the work.

Some UK Councils provide spaces called 'free walls' for graffiti artists to use for their art. To find where you nearest free walls are, contact your local authority. See the websites in related information to find your local authority.

If you know someone who is causing graffiti call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111


Answer

It depends upon the type of incident you are reporting. This area of law is very complex, so the following is a basic guide only (as there are exceptions).

Road Traffic Accidents:

  • Reportable road traffic accidents (see questions in related topics for more details) must be reported as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any case, within twenty-four hours.
  • Minor road traffic incidents e.g. failing to wear a seatbelt, have a time limit on prosecution of 6 months.
  • Serious road traffic incidents (e.g. dangerous driving) have no such time limit for prosecution.

Crime:

  • Most crimes do not have a time limit for reporting them.
  • The crimes that do have time limits are 'summary only' which means that they can only be tried at a Magistrates Court and are relatively minor offences; they must be prosecuted within 6 months e.g. common assault, harassment and taken without owners consent (TWOC).
Do bear in mind that the more time there is between the incident happening and reporting it to the police, the harder it will be for the police to gather the evidence.


Answer

You should contact the local council for the area where the graffiti or fly posting has taken place.

If the person/organisation is known, then it may be possible for the council to issue penalty notices and a 'defacement removal notice' (in Wales this is a 'graffiti removal notice' and applies only to graffiti).

If it is on council-owned property, or if it is offensive/racially abusive, the council may be responsible for removing it. If not, then the council may be able to advise you who to contact or remove the graffiti at a charge.

See the website in Related Information to find out your local council's details.


Answer

You should contact the local council for the area where you spotted the damage. The council may be responsible for the removal or repair of an item, depending on what has been damaged.

If you see someone committing vandalism, then you can report this to your local police force via 101.

See the website in Related Information to find out your local council's details.


Answer

You should contact your local council who will usually be responsible for maintaining or repairing bus shelters.

If you see someone committing vandalism, then you can report this to your local police force via 101. 

Please see the website in Related Information to find out your local council's details.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

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