Crime scene investigation is a major process that is adopted whenever any transgression takes place. This paper presents the major steps that should be followed when carrying out such an investigation. It also shows how diverse crimes call for different investigation procedures. Besides, the paper presents the qualities that crime investigators should have to guarantee a successful inquiry process.
We will write a custom Research Paper on Crime Scene Investigation specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Specific steps have been established to be followed when conducting a preliminary investigation. Upon arrival on a scene or the site of the crime, one should:
- Offer assistance to the injured or victims.
- Determine whether there are adequate reasons to believe that a crime has been or is being committed.
- Take the appropriate action to stop any ongoing crime.
- Call for the arrest of the offender if he or she is on or near the scene provided the situation warrants such a move.
- Secure and preserve the scene of the crime for the purpose of collection and processing of evidence.
- Identify and interview the complainants and witnesses.
- Obtain descriptions of the offender from the witnesses.
- Complete the case report, and where possible, in the presence of the victim/complainant.
One of the major strategies for conducting an effective follow-up investigation is through a thorough and efficient witness interview and post-interview communication. Interviews offer an investigator the opportunity to go through the provided information with the evidence and the victim’s statements collected in the preliminary investigation (Stelfox, 2013). When conducting an interview, the best strategy is to use open-ended communication, which will allow the witness to give his or her thoughts and understanding of the crime under investigation (Newburn, Williamson, & Wright, 2012).
Open-ended questions allow the investigator to obtain plenty of unsolicited information, which can be very valuable to the process. It is very important to examine the information provided by the witness (Osterburg & Ward, 2010). This process can be accomplished by requiring the witness to recreate or try to explain the circumstances that led to the crime. The strategy guarantees the credibility of the statements by clarifying any areas of ambiguity. When finalizing the interview, the investigator should discourage the witness from sharing the information that he or she has provided with other potential witnesses (Newburn et al., 2012).
Diverse crimes are reported and handled differently. For instance, sudden deaths and sex-related crimes offer a good case where different procedures are applied to address them. Sudden deaths are viewed as unexpected, unexplained, and unnatural. In this case, a sudden demise is reported to a coroner (Osterburg & Ward, 2010). According to the Coroner’s Act of 1962, doctors, the register of deaths, funeral undertakers, households, and those in charge of institutions or facilities must report any death occurrence to the coroner (Newburn et al., 2012). If death is associated with the latter, there is no need for an investigation.
The loss is registered with the Registrar of Deaths. A doctor cannot certify any unnatural death. In this case, a coroner forwards the case to relevant authorities to investigate the death. On the other hand, reporting a sex-related crime follows a different approach. Sex-related crimes are considered very serious. They require a thorough and often long process to not only protect the victim but also to bring the culprits to justice (Osterburg & Ward, 2010).
Sex crimes are reported to the police through a call. The report can also be presented directly at the law enforcement department. Once the crime has been reported, the first step is to determine whether the victim needs emergency medical assistance. If possible, a police officer in uniform should be sent to talk to the victim. Once this process is done, the investigation is initiated.
The most important characteristics of criminal investigators include communication and interview skills, the ability to control emotions, and knowledge of the law. Communication and interview skills allow an investigator to ask clarifying questions to facilitate the extraction of as much information as possible (Osterburg & Ward, 2010). In addition, he or she should notice and point out discrepancies and gaps in any story provided by the victim, witnesses, or suspects, including asking questions to clarify the information (Stelfox, 2013).
The ability to control emotions is important since it ensures that the investigator does not become subjective to the extent of affecting the investigation process. Knowledge of the law allows the investigator to identify information that is necessary to prove or disapprove a case as per the relevant legal stipulations.
The criminal examination procedure should uphold equilibrium concerning the autonomy of information delivered via media platforms, including seclusion privileges of the suspected perpetrators of transgression. In this case, it is important to note that while a serious crime may have taken place, a person is innocent until proven guilty. If information about the victims is passed to the media, it may imply a summary prosecution by the public, a situation that violates their right to a fair and unbiased hearing.
Conclusively, the paper has demonstrated that different crimes are handled differently because of their nature and parties involved. The paper has substantiated this claim using sudden deaths and sex-related crimes where diverse procedures are adopted to investigate each category. Besides addressing the traits that crime investigators need to possess, the paper has also established the importance of establishing a balance when it comes to freedom of information of the accused.
Newburn, T., Williamson, T., & Wright, A. (2012). Handbook of criminal investigation. New York, NY: Routledge.
Osterburg, J. W., & Ward, R. H. (2010). Criminal investigation: A method for reconstructing the past. New York, NY: Routledge.
Stelfox, P. (2013). Criminal investigation: An introduction to principles and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.