Police or prosecutor?

If you have been the victim of or were a witness to an offence, it is possible to report it to the police. Once the police have received the report, either the police or the prosecutor decides on whether or not to initiate preliminary investigations.

The police often lead the preliminary investigation during the surveillance stage when attempts are made to determine who can be suspected of the offence in question. Once the police have reached the stage at which someone can be reasonably suspected of having committed the offence, a prosecutor takes over the preliminary investigation work. In the case of less serious crimes, the police continue to lead the preliminary investigation. Such offences include, for example, shoplifting, traffic infringements and theft.

Investigation led by the prosecutor

The prosecutor leads the preliminary investigation:

  • when the suspect is being deprived of his/her liberty

  • when violence or a threat within the family or against a close relative can be suspected

  • when the victim is less than 18 years old, or

  • when it is a question of a crime of a serious or complicated nature


The prosecutor conducts the criminal investigations when it is a case of serious crime, for example murder or an offence against a close relative. The prosecutor is always in charge of the preliminary investigation when a suspect has been deprived of his/her liberty, or in other words has been arrested or detained. If the arrest or detention is reversed and the suspect is released, the police will take over responsibility for leading the preliminary investigation.