A quick hypothetical. If I was assaulted and provided video evidence to the authorities which the police used to successfully catch my assailant would the police have to share my assailants details with me? Let's assume that the assailant was given a formal warning but not charged and I wanted to pursue Civil action but I didn't have the assailants details, could the police refuse to tell me?

(Not concerned about the the likelihood of a civil case succeeding, just a hypothetical)

Specifically I'm asking about the UK. Do the four UK Nations vary at all in this regard?


No. The police cannot determine if you have a lawful reason to know the details. Not their job.

You can file your civil case using fictitious defendant name and then just apply for a court order to disclose who the guy actually is as part of the disclosure process. Provided that the court is satisfied you have a case, it will grant such order and the police will have to obey it.

  • Can you cite any references please? – gingerbreadboy Nov 30 '20 at 10:13
  • @gingerbreadboy rephrased and added a reference about fictitious defendant. – Greendrake Nov 30 '20 at 11:26
  • Can you cite something specific to UK law? "John Doe" tends to be a US thing. – Paul Johnson Nov 30 '20 at 15:15
  • @PaulJohnson In the UK they may use "ABC" instead. I don't have any UK-specific citation. Rather, I presume that the rules & practices around suing unknown-yet defendants won't be drastically different between the US and UK. If I was in the place of the OP I would do exactly as my answer provides. – Greendrake Dec 1 '20 at 8:58
  • Thanks for the update @greendrake. Seems crazy that if I was a victim of a crime the police can withhold the details of the assailant, but I guess it is what it is. – gingerbreadboy Dec 1 '20 at 12:07

As far as I know, law enforcement does have the choice of whether or not they tell you the details. Obviously, they can't tell you everything about this person, but they can choose whether or not to tell you simple things like the criminal's name.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.