Being a good witness – you may hold the key
If you see someone behaving suspiciously or a crime being committed, you become an important witness to police. What you see and hear can greatly assist police in identifying an offender or solving a crime.
Keep a pen and notepad in your car’s glovebox or your handbag so that you can write down details such as time and date and your observations.
Being able to give an accurate description can be crucial. In describing a person, think about these attributes:
- Build (slim, skinny, proportionate, solid, overweight etc)
- Racial appearance
- Approximate age
- Hair length, style and colour
- Facial hair
- Tattoos, scars, glasses, or other distinctive features
- Manner of speaking – depth of voice, accent, etc
A vehicle associated with an offender could be described by:
- Vehicle registration, including colour of plate. Is the plate personalised?
- Body shape (wagon, sedan, ute, van, coupe)
- Make and model
- Any damage
- Distinguishing features such as mag wheels, signage, tool boxes
- Direction of travel
Remembering a registration plate is a good start. Try to commit the plate to memory by making up a funny mnemonic. For example, if the plate is “528NSB” you could remember iy as “5-2-8-Not-So-Bright”. Practicing this technique can be a fun game to play in the car with your young children while teaching them to be observant.
It can be difficult to keep these things in mind, especially if you are stressed or frightened during an incident. Again, practicing describing people and vehicles in this manner will help develop the skills of a good witness, which may just be the key to cracking a case one day.
Police Beat is a new regular monthly column provided by the Coolangatta Police Station.