They do a number of things. When someone commits a crime (= breaks the law and does something wrong / illegal / against the law) the police must investigate (= try to find out what happened / who is responsible). If they find person responsible for the crime, they arrest them (= take them to the police station). At the police station, they question them (= ask them questions to find out what they know) and if they are sure the person committed the crime, the person is charged with the crime (= the police make an official statement that they believe the person committed the crime). The person must then go to court for trial.
B. The court.
In court, the person charged with the crime (now called the defendant or accused) must try to prove (= provide facts to show something is true) that they did not commit the crime; in other words prove that they are innocent (≠ guilty). The jury listens to all the evidence (= information about the crime, for and against the defendant) and then makes their decision.
If the defendant is convicted of the crime (= the jury decides that the defendant is guilty), the judge will give the sentence (= punishment). For example, if a person is convicted of murder, the sentence will be many years in prison. The person then becomes a prisoner, and the room they live in is called a cell.
For crimes that are not serious (often called minor offences, e.g. illegal parking), the punishment is usually a fine (= money you have to pay).
Exercise 2. Put this story in the correct order.
1. they found both men guilty.
2. and charged them with the robbery.
3. ₤ 10,000 was stolen from a bank in the High Street.
4. After the jury had listened to all the evidence
5. They were sent to prison for seven years.
6. The trial took place two months later.
7. and they finally arrested two men.
8. They questioned them at the police station
9. The police questioned a number of people about the crime
Exercise 3. Answer the questions.
1. Who investigates crimes?
2. Who sentences people?
3. Who lives in cells?
4. Who decides if someone is innocent or guilty?
5. Who defends people and presents evidence?
6. Who commits crimes?
Exercise 4. Fill the gaps with suitable words.
1. I have never ……… the law and ………. a crime.
2. In Britain it is ………. the law to drive a car without insurance.
3. If you park illegally you will have to pay a ………
4. The police were fairly sure the man committed the crime, but they knew it would be difficult to ………… it in court.
5. The jury must decide if the accused is innocent or ……….
6. In order to reach their decision, the jury must listen carefully to the ……….
7. If the accused is …………. of murder, the ……….. may be at least ten year in prison.
8. He has been in trouble with the police once before, but it was only a minor ……