Skip to content

Courtroom Testimony Skills


Content Provider:
Toronto Police Service


Length (in hours)
3 hours

Release Date
July 2020

Registration Process Register

Providing testimony in court is a vital component of policing. Effective testimony does not just happen — new and experienced officers alike must demonstrate solid policing fundamentals and make specific preparations to ensure their testimony is credible and reliable.
Courtroom Testimony Skills outlines essential information that every police officer or civilian member should know about providing testimony in court. In addition to reviewing the major roles within the court system and the basics of court proceedings, this course provides best practices for preparing and giving evidence.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course you will:

  • Explain the major roles within the court system
  • Explain how demonstrating solid policing fundamentals and connecting your thoughts, actions, and explanations to your sworn duties will contribute positively to investigations
  • Recall biased and flawed practices to avoid in your daily duties
  • Identify each role within the court system and the expectations on those who fill those roles, particularly witnesses, police witnesses, and Crowns
  • Recall how witness examinations proceed
  • Explain how to deliver effective testimony in witness examinations, and within the rules governing testimony
  • Recall the four basic elements of effective police notes
  • Explain the five characteristics (or 5 Cs) of effective police notes, including the Live Notes approach to immediately necessary notations
  • Recall the importance of effectively explaining subjective beliefs through the support of objective facts or grounds
  • Identify the three phases of memory and how to best protect against contaminating them
  • Recall how to “source” information in notes, and qualify those notes in court or other examinations
  • Recall the steps to effective court preparation upon being notified for court
  • Identify what to do when you discover discrepancies between independent recollections and notes prepared during and immediately after the incident
  • Recall the value and necessary precautions in mock trials and/or dry runs on the evidence you anticipate providing to the court
  • Recall the most common problems police witnesses experience in court
  • Differentiate between preferred (best practices) methods of giving evidence from those which undermine effective testimony
  • Identify the difference between issues of reliability and credibility in testimony
  • Recall the most-common counsel cross-examination tactics


Target Audience

Sworn Police, Police Services, Government and Other First Responders