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Witness Intimidation: Strategies for Prevention

NCJ Number
W Maynard
Date Published
52 pages
This study examined the level of witness intimidation in England, using reported crime statistics from the police and the Crown Prosecution Service; a survey of residents in several high- crime housing projects; and a postal survey of crime victims and witnesses to reported crimes.
In addition, researchers conducted interviews with victims of intimidation and police officials to ascertain typical circumstances under which witnesses are intimidated. The study found that, in high-crime housing projects, 13 percent of crimes reported by victims and 9 percent of crime reported by witnesses lead to subsequent intimidation. However, many crimes apparently go unreported because victims and witnesses fear intimidation. In many cases, before a suspect is apprehended, victim intimidation is difficult to prevent when the offender knows his victim's identity. Often, witness intimidation begins immediately after police contact is initiated. Intimidation may also occur when the suspect is free on bond, during surveillance operations, and in and around the court itself. Cooperation between the courts, the Crown Court Witness Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, the prison service, Victim Support, and local authorities could reduce the incidence of victim- witness intimidation. 8 tables, 1 figure, 15 references, and 1 appendix