The Police is one of two institutions (along with the prosecutor’s office) that receive crime reports. When going to the Police station, you should have your identity document with you as the officers will ask you to give them your personal data. This information is essential to the officers for the purpose of conducting the activities properly. The Police officer receiving your report is obligated to inform you – as a victim of a crime – about your rights.
You may restrict details regarding your place of residence from being disclosed to the person who committed the crime if there is a justified concern for the possible use of violence or unlawful threat against you.
You may find a thorough description of victim’s rights and duties translated into several languages on the website: http://www.policja.pl/portal/pol/346/
If you do not understand the Polish language, ask for an interpreter. The Police is obligated to ensure the presence of an interpreter while conducting activities concerning a person having no command of Polish, and no charges may be imposed on a victim on this account. Having received the report, the Police will take your testimony in order to determine the circumstances of the incident. It is very important that you give as detailed information concerning the course of events and the act’s perpetrator/perpetrators as possible. The more precise the details are, the bigger the chance the Police will identify and detain the perpetrator and bring this person to justice. Pay particular attention to the perpetrator’s look, distinguishing marks, tattoos, as well as to the words said by this person. If you do not go to the Police station immediately after the incident, we recommend that you write down or record your account of the incident that has occurred. Your memory may fail you, and the more you remember, the easier it will be to pursue your rights.
If you believe that the incident you have experienced was motivated by your race, religion, ethnicity, nationality or culture affiliation, tell the Police about it while reporting the crime. You should also explain on what basis you have come to your conclusion (e.g. quote racist words accompanying the incident).
The Police officers have been trained intensively for several years in respect of issues concerning identifying and detecting hate crimes. Thus, they are prepared to handle your case properly. Do not hesitate to meet them and to tell them about what has happened to you.
Remember, your participation in the proceedings does not end with reporting the crime. The Police or prosecutor’s office conducting the case will need your co-operation. You may be asked to visit the Police again and to complete your testimony. The lack of co-operation on the part of the victim or witness may hinder pressing the charges against perpetrators, and it may thwart the effort you made while reporting the crime.
The Police is obligated to inform you about the activities concerning your case at every stage of the procedure. Your report will be investigated, and you will be notified within 6 weeks whether the proceedings have been instigated.
Write to the Human Rights Protection Team of the Ministry of the Interior if you have any reasons to believe that the incident you have encountered was a hate crime, and the Police investigating the case has not taken this circumstance into account.
There is a human rights advisor in every voivodeship police headquarters, as well as in the General Police Headquarters and the Warsaw Metropolitan Police Headquarters. These representatives neither conduct criminal proceedings nor supervise such proceedings, but they are experts in the field of issues concerning racism, xenophobia, and hate crimes; thus, they can serve you with information and assistance if need be.
Addresses and telephone numbers of human rights advisors may be found here.