In most cases, police reports are matters of public record. Provided the person who is interested in obtaining them is willing to go through the appropriate channels, they can access most of these with no issue. In some cases, there are exceptions. Some juvenile records may be sealed or withheld to protect the victim's privacy. In most cases it is a simple process to obtain a police report - depending on who is attempting to obtain the report.
Victims Obtaining Reports
Generally a victim of a crime can obtain a police report about their incidents. They can usually access them from the department with which the police report was filed. In most cases, victims are given a copy of the police report immediately after the report is filed. If additional copies are required, or you have lost your original copies, these additional copies can usually be obtained by simply requesting them from the agency that issued the first report.
Defendants Obtaining Reportsee
Defendants generally also have the right to access police reports filed against them seeing as they have the right of knowing what they are being accused of. Generally, the District Attorney who is prosecuting their case can obtain and provide a copy of the police reports pertaining to the issue. If a lawyer is representing them, generally the lawyers obtain the copies of the police reports in question. If making a request to the District Attorney (D.A.), their office normally has a specific amount of time before it has to turn over copies to the defendants. This is due to the fact that defendants normally need to see the pertinent details on their police reports to correctly prepare for their defense.
Third Parties Obtaining Reports
Sometimes, a third party who has nothing to do with the case at hand may request a copy of the police report. Generally, most states only allow third parties to obtain copies of police reports if the matters they cover are closed. Some states will allow a third party to obtain a copy of a police report if matters are still pending. Third parties will have to know the case number of the reports they are looking for and go to the county clerk's office where the police report was initially filed to get a copy of the reports. There is generally a fee for this service being provided to third parties.
The steps to follow to obtain a copy of a police report is slightly different for each group of people, but the reports are typically pretty easy to obtain no matter who is looking for them.