Is it possible to file an anonymous complaint?

anonymous complaint
Published on: 22 March 2024

Table of contents

Anonymously denouncing a person or even a company is perfectly legal, even if it is not always the most advisable thing to do. However, it is a question that raises many doubts. For this reason, we would like to answer the most common questions about this issue.

What is anonymous whistleblowing?

An anonymous report is the reporting of a crime to the authorities (police, Guardia Civil, etc.) without revealing one's name. Generally, this is done in order to avoid reprisals from the defendant, although it is also often done when the complainant was committing another crime.

For example, imagine the case of a drug dealer who, while selling narcotic substances, sees someone assaulting or murdering another person. Or a burglar who breaks into a house and realises that a crime has been committed there. He may bring the incident to the attention of the authorities so that they can take action, but he does not want to reveal his name so as not to suffer certain consequences himself.

How do you make an anonymous report?

Obviously, in order to preserve anonymity, it is not possible for the complainant to go to a police station to report certain facts. The most common channels are the telephone and the Internet. In the first case, it is common for the subject to tell what is happening and, as soon as they have finished, hang up so as not to reveal their identity. Likewise, social networks are also a perfect place to post them.
For their part, there are many official bodies that have spaces where citizens can report incidents without revealing their name. The National Police and the Guardia Civil are good examples. This is another good alternative for making an anonymous online report.

Is anonymous reporting a good idea?

There are many cases where the whistleblower has a real fear of retaliation from the defendant. This is the main reason why they prefer not to reveal their name to the authorities when reporting a crime. However, the reality is that not doing so has a very negative impact on the work of investigators.
Generally, when an anonymous report is made online or by telephone, there is a tendency to omit many details of interest related to the subsequent investigation that will have to be carried out. The complainant will have seen the facts and could give a detailed description, but does not do so.

Are anonymously filed complaints investigated?

We already know how to file an anonymous report, so now it is time to clarify whether or not it actually does any good. The answer is yes. However, it should be borne in mind that the National Police or the Guardia Civil will only investigate the facts if there are traces of verisimilitude in the complainant's account.
In fact, if the complainant's testimony is credible, the authorities will have to use all the means at their disposal to determine what happened. If the events have taken place and it is a public crime, their presence is not necessary to continue the investigation. However, if it is a private crime, the case will be closed.

Are the complainant's details anonymous when reporting?

The Police, the Guardia Civil or the Emergency Service must at all times guarantee the confidentiality of the complainant if he/she has chosen not to disclose his/her name. In fact, they cannot preserve their telephone number or email address, as well as any other means used to lodge the complaint.

Who can make anonymous reports?

Any citizen who has witnessed an event that may be outside the law. In fact, it is not only a right, but also an obligation in ethical and civic terms. It is true that the ideal time to file a report is while the victim is being acted upon, but it is also useful if it is done afterwards.

What are the most common reasons for anonymous complaints in Spain?

There are statistics on this. According to them, technological crimes, drug trafficking and homicide are the three most common reasons for anonymous reporting. To a lesser extent, we should also highlight kidnapping, sexual exploitation, abuse and counter-terrorism.

In short, we hope we have clarified how to report anonymously and what the consequences are. As we have seen, it is a useful tool on many occasions that leads to the authorities taking action against a public crime that has been committed. However, it can never be equated to a formal complaint as it does not provide as reliable and accurate testimony.

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