Crime Scene Management: Ensuring Efficiency and Security

The act done by investigative team, to manage the whole operation ranging from the approach towards the crime scene to the establishing the security and pref

CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION

Shubham Kumar

1/29/20245 min read

Unraveling the intricacies of crime scene management is vital in the realm of investigations. From coordinating the approach to the crime scene to ensuring security, this blog delves into the indispensable role of crime scene management.

Crime Scene Management | Introduction

Crime scene investigation refers to analysis, investigation, collection, evaluation, and individualization of the physical, biological and digital evidence present at the crime scene, in order to determine the root cause and the players involved in the commenced crime. The act done by investigative team, to manage the whole operation ranging from the approach towards the crime scene to the establishing the security and preforming the examination of crime scene, is called crime scene management.

In the whole dynamics ranging from registering and F.I.R about the crime to the judgment for the crime, the crime scene investigation, holds prominent grounds. Therefore, it is must to have a team of investigators who are both skilled and competent. Notably, the investigator's effectiveness is closely tied in accordance with the profound collaboration between their skills and presence of mind.

The proper control and coordination are important because it grinds the required amount of information in order to solve the crime. In case of its absence, the investigators might end up in the dead end and their efforts may become aimless. It can also cause the imprisonment of uncover leads which may never passed onto other investigators. This issue becomes particularly pronounced in large crime scenes where multiple investigators are processing the area or when secondary scenes are distant from the primary one. Establishing a seamless flow of information between the investigator and the crime scene team is crucial. This communication dynamic is a key responsibility of the crime scene investigator.

In relation to the management of crime scenes, interpretation of two terms will be as follows:

  1. The Crime Scene Manager

  2. Crime Scene Coordinator

Crime scene manager

The term "crime scene manager" is attributed to a senior crime scene investigator entrusted with overseeing a large and intricate single crime scene. This role involves managing various aspects of the investigation in a comprehensive manner.

Crime Scenes Coordinator

A "crime scene coordinator" is a senior crime scene investigator assigned the responsibility of coordinating multiple, interconnected, and often complex scenes. This role extends to chairing case management committee meetings, facilitating collaboration between forensic personnel and senior investigating police during case management sessions.

Approaches to Crime Scene Management

Examining a crime scene and gathering evidence require specialized skills, knowledge, and expertise. How a crime scene investigation is conducted plays a crucial role in the success of the overall investigation.

A thorough examination demands a disciplined approach, applying systematic techniques for observation, recording, and collection, along with a deep understanding of forensic science.

Crime scene examination is often challenging, requiring both physical and mental endurance, as well as effective teamwork and leadership skills.

Forensic science has become a vital tool in criminal investigations, and courts heavily rely on its results. The court scrutinizes how evidence is located, recorded, and collected, along with the observations and test results, before admitting them as evidence.

Adopting a systematic approach to crime scene investigation ensures:

  • Coordination: Effective collaboration between the investigation and crime scene examination teams.

  • Efficiency: Conducting an efficient, effective, and thorough examination.

  • Reduced Fatigue: Minimizing investigator fatigue.

  • Orderly Recording and Collection: Systematically recording and collecting potential evidence.

  • Effective Observations and Deductions: Enhancing the accuracy of observations and deductions.

In essence, a systematic approach enhances the overall quality of a crime scene investigation, promoting coordination, reducing fatigue, and ensuring the meticulous recording and collection of crucial evidence.

Securing the Crime Scene

When the first officers arrive at a crime scene, they assess it and secure it based on available information. The crime scene manager, typically a senior staff member, must promptly take charge of managing the scene. Usually, a crime scene investigator or a team accompanies the manager. The size of the crime scene dictates the allocated resources, and the manager has the authority to assign them.

Once the crime scene is under the manager's control, a reassessment of security is necessary to maintain the scene's integrity. A formal protocol is followed for the handover, ensuring control and the preservation of the chain of custody—an essential aspect in prosecutions involving forensic evidence.

The objective of securing the crime scene is to:

  • Prevent evidence destruction or contamination.

  • Ensure the security of information, released only by specific personnel to the media.

  • Maintain the chain of custody for potential evidence.

  • Minimize unnecessary personnel at the scene, as their presence increases the risk of contamination and evidence destruction.

  • Guarantee that all evidence is properly recorded and recovered, potentially including securing the scene until post-mortem or scientific analysis results are available.

Various methods are used to secure the crime scene, such as posting guards, cordons, strategic vehicle placement, markers, flags, signs, and creating safe walk areas.

The well-being of crime scene investigators is a top priority for the manager, who ensures they have protective gear and breaks with refreshments. Scene guards are included, and a designated area is provided for breaks, equipment storage, and waste accumulation.

All personnel on-site receive briefings on safety hazards, regulations about smoking and eating, critical area locations, and proper use of telephones and toilets. This comprehensive approach ensures effective crime scene management while prioritizing the well-being of investigators.

Examination of Records

To conduct a comprehensive and organized crime scene investigation, it's essential to establish protocols for each activity. Prepared check sheets play a crucial role, offering the crime scene investigator detailed notes during the examination.

These standardized records should cover:

  • Crime scene log: Details of activities, movements, and personnel on-site, including arrival and departure summaries.

  • Formal hand-over/take-over: Transfer of responsibility from initial police to the arriving investigator or manager.

  • List of environmental conditions: Record of conditions within the crime scene and its surroundings.

  • List of activities and observations: Notable events and observations during the investigation.

  • Exhibit list: Comprehensive record of collected items.

  • Rough sketch of the crime scene: Visual representation.

  • List of photographs taken: Documentation of visual evidence.

  • List of specialists and their involvement times: Details of experts participating in the examination.

  • Initial findings: Preliminary conclusions from all specialists involved.

An ideal computerized record management system designed for quality system records should be modular, comprising operational and support modules. The necessary operational modules to control various aspects of the Quality Management System (QMS) include document control, auditing, proficiency testing, equipment, suppliers, training, administration, workload, performance, and corrective/preventive action. Support modules include forms and continuous improvement.

To maintain security and prevent alterations, the system should have various levels of access. In a crime scene investigation facility:

  • All members can suggest improvements through the messaging system.

  • Supervising investigators have additional access for distribution and movements.

  • Supervising investigators also have extra access for audits and closing continuous improvement proficiency tests.

  • Auditors can make entries related to audits.

  • The QA management committee and the trained manager require access to monitor all activities.

The principle administrator in administration needs overall complete access. This structured system ensures effective collaboration, security, and integrity in crime scene investigations.

Reference

  • "Forensic DNA Typing" by John M. Butler

  • "The Forensic Casebook: The Science of Crime Scene Investigation" by Ngaire E. Genge

  • "Forensic Science: A Very Short Introduction" by Jim Fraser

  • "Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation" by Ross M. Gardner