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Anyone know anything about police procedure?

edited June 2010 in - Writing Problems
My character thinks she has escaped an abductor's clutches. She has escaped with a telephone number on a scrap peice of paper found in his car. Now she wants to report it to the police. What would happen? (The abductor is wanted by the police for 3 other missing women.)

Can anyone help?


  • The main issue would be: do the police believe her?

    Have you ever read Nicci French's Land of the Living? It's my favourite Nicci French novel.

    Are you a member of AW? This sounds like a suitable question for the M/T/S sub-forum.
  • edited June 2010
    ok tell me about the call she'd make, or discussion she'd have?

    Is she injured?
    Has she been reported missing?
    Was there any lead up to the abduction that the police would be aware of?
    Three other women...is the MO the same? Has he killed? Do the police have any usable factors for trace?
    Were the police initially involved at the kidnap scene?
    Is she known to the police for any other reason? I.e. is she a victim of previous crimes or have a history of mental illness?
  • Right, I'm writing a comedy romance. Character is a journalist (or wants to be) and is researching prostitutes for an article. The prozzies are going missing at a rate of 1 a month (3 so far), my character gets unwillingly sucked into their plight and finds herself in the back of the kidnappers car, (he isn't the kidnapper btw, she just thinks he is). She "escapes" after finding this tel number on the floor of his car.
    She hasn't been reported missing, she isn't injured and the police are looking for this man (they do eventually pull in the man my character shared the car with), nor is she known by the cops. No mental illness at all.
    It's a scene that has become a little dark, and I'm trying to lighten it (think I've pulled it off). I glossed over the police scene, but editor wants me to flesh it out. The man in the car is my character's future boyfriend - he is NOT a kerbcrawler, and wants his tel number back! He thought he'd lost it. At this stage my character and this man don't know each other.

    I'd like to now how long the police will keep her for, what sort of questions they will ask her, will she be obliged to tell them she's a journalist etc what will they do with the phone number?

    Thanks, I know it's a lot but I'd be really grateful.
    Thanks Stirling, I am a menber of AW but haven't got on with it at all - can't fathom out their layout! I'll look out for Nicci French. Would it be good for reference?
  • well basically (remembers crib sheet) she'll initially be asked, if she knows him, when she replies negatively she'll be asked about the car, make model and registration number (can be used to trace an owner name address any markers such as has it been stolen or used in any crime) Was it messy or tidy?
    Next they would enquire about NASCH factors, Nationality Age Sex Clothing and height. Other idents will then be requested, piercings marks scars and tattoos, accents or recognisable features to voice and stance.
    She won't be obliged to say she was a journalist but she will be asked to explain why she was there. Will she know the location of where she's been taken? If not she'll be asked to give street names, business names and landmarks, was there anything she would recognise about where she was kept, including sights sounds and smells?
    What times did this happen between or approx how long has she been kept?

    As for the number it would be traced using a specific person/ department in force and handled from there

    How long she'd be kept would depend on how she was? Initial statements known as notebook statements can be used as a basis before a further larger statement would be taken by the officer in case, who would be your characters main liaison and contact from there on.

    Hope this helps
  • Thank you!

    Would the officer be CID? Would they tape her conversation (I've been watching too much Gene Hunt!) too? I don't know if I'm going to play this scene straight or ham it up, but I need it correct.

    Has anyone actually asked a policeman or another professional body for information?
  • edited June 2010
  • Yes they tape as a matter of course, there will also be cctv in every interview room. It would likely be passed to CID
  • I'd recommend you get yourself a copy of D. J. Cole's snappily titled, "A Writer's Guide to Police Organisation
    and Crime Investigation and Detection." (Robert Hale 1996) It's a must for any wannabe crime writer.
    And it's also worth getting on friendly terms with you local community copper.
  • Thank you. The book sounds ideal.
  • There are also some fab books in the 'how-dunnit' series of books. I have a couple one one finding missing people; murder one; and one called criminal intent.

    I definitely recommend Land of the Living. I read that and Fowles' The Collector and Mark Billingham's Buried as research for my novel.
  • Or you could work in force as I do
  • I recommend Michael O'Byrne's book 'The crime writer's guide to police practice and procedure'. It came out in 2009 and I've found it very useful.
  • LOL @ Purplebeetlewings
    Can I come back to you for more info?
  • [quote=purplebeetlewings]Or you could work in force as I do [/quote]

    I don't think I could get passed the fitness test.

    I tried when I was 19. It nearly killed me. :D
  • [quote=montholon]I recommend Michael O'Byrne's book 'The crime writer's guide to police practice and procedure'. It came out in 2009 and I've found it very useful.[/quote]

    I've been looking for this book for ages - but it seems to be out of stock everywhere!

    So if anyone does find it in stock do let me know
  • Chippy, have you tried Amazon and/or Book Depository and/or abebooks.com and/or green metropolis?
    abebooks have the biggest range of second hand/out of prints that I know of. I first check Amazon, then abebooks when I want something. Not often I don't get it.
  • Chippy,
    See if you can find it in the local library. Then "lose" it and they'll just charge you the book price :)

    Or you could just buy it from here :)
  • Dorothy - I'm on the mailing list with amazon so they'll let me know if/when it becomes available again. The Book depository were the same as amazon.
    I think I looked on Abe books but I can't remember if I saw it or not...if I did I think it was quite expensive and I was saving that as a last resort.

    Bored Robots - Don't trust play.com when they say should be dispatched in 6-8 weeks.
    I ordered a book from them that said should be dispatched in 6-8 weeks. This was in January last year, I think it was in about May that I gave up and cancelled the order.
  • fed the title into ebay, nothing there but the ads underneath had one for Waterside Press and this:
    Police and Policing NEW

    An Introduction by Peter Villiers, Foreword by Sir Hugh Orde Availability: IN STOCK

    Delivery: Usually despatched within 24 hours (RRP: £21.50) Price: £18.50
    Part of our growing Introductory Series

    An ideal introduction for police recruits, criminal justice practitioners, criminologists and general readers.
    Written in a clear style and based on the experiences of author Peter Villiers who was for many years a tutor at the National Police Staff College, Bramshill.
    A convenient handbook for anyone wanting an accessible yet thought-provoking account of a key public institution.
    Covers such key topics as

    * The nature and purposes of policing
    * A short history
    * The ‘original authority’ of police constables
    * Police forces and police authorities
    * Detective work
    * Squads, teams, units and operations
    * Training and leadership
    * Crime prevention and crime reduction
    * Forensics, science and technology
    * Powers of arrest, detention and charge
    * Ethics, discipline and integrity
    * Common standards and values
    * Protection of the public
    * Terrorism (including modern-day powers)
    * The Serious Organized Crime Agency
    * Police community support officers
    * Corruption and the use of ‘deception’
    * Policing in the era of human rights
    * Interpol and Europol
    * Examples of policing from abroad

    Also contains a Glossary of Words, Phrases, Acronyms and Abbreviations and a Timeline.

    any good?
  • I'll have to look in to that one.

    Although the one that Rivington suggested sounds quite good - A Writer's Guide to Police Organisation and Crime Investigation and Detection.

    And that one is on amazon - I looked it up.
  • [quote=Chippy]I'm on the mailing list with amazon so they'll let me know if/when it becomes available again[/quote]

    Or so I thought.

    I was just having a look at my wishlist on amazon when I realised that 'The crime writer's guide to police practice and procedure' was down as being in stock. Did I receive an email from amazon telling me this?

    I think you can guess the answer...

    It was slightly cheaper for me to buy it from the book depository via amazon though.

    But it is in stock at amazon and the book depository for any of you who are interested
  • 6 days later...and I got my email about this book.

    This is after I had bought it, paid for it and it is now on it's way to me.
  • I find Book Depository often send the e-mail after the book has been despatched- I even got the book the next day on one occasion.
  • How about Wyne, D. The Crime Writer's Handbook, Alison & Busby. I know this one is American as it is published by WD but there is Wingate, Ann [PhD] Scene of the Crime: A Writer's Guide to crime scene investigations [part of the How Dunnit series] Sometimes Writing magazine and WN have a list of books so look out for them. I hope we have been of help Louise. Good luck!!!!!
  • Stirling, who was the author who wrote 'Land of the Living and The Collector, you gave Billingham's book but not author for the other two I am afraid.
  • Land of The Living: Nicci French

    The Collector: John Fowles
  • Why not go down the police station and ask them? I did this when I wanted to know what would happen if my character reported a drug dealer - they were very helpful.
  • Loz (purplebeetlewings) currently works in the call centre for the police, so she's very good to ask for info (as much as she's allowed to give) ;) Which is why I initially threw the link at her to help Louise.
  • purplebeetlewings[lovely username by the way] anyway do you have a number I could contact for the future or would you rather not share it with everyone
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