Crime scene management skills are an extremely significant task component of investigation because evidence that originates at the crime scene will provide a picture of events for the court to consider in its deliberations.
As much as crime scene measurement tasks may seem simplistic, ritualistic, and mundane, they are the very foundation of a criminal investigation, and without this foundation of proper evidence practices in place, the case will collapse when it comes to court.
That picture will be composed of witness testimony, crime scene photographs, physical exhibits, and the analysis of those exhibits, along with the analysis of the crime scene itself.
In this article, you will learn the task processes and protocols for several important issues in crime scene management.
1. Note Taking
Although other documents will be created by the investigator to manage the crime scene, no other document will be as important to the investigator as the notebook. The notebook is the investigator’s personal reference for recording the investigation. In court, the investigator’s notebook is their best reference document.
2. Integrity of the Crime Scene
As part of crime scene management, protecting the integrity of the crime scene involves several specific processes that fall under the Tasks category of the STAIR Tool. These are tasks that must be performed by the investigator to identify, collect, preserve, and protect evidence to ensure that it will be accepted by the court. These tasks include:
a) Locking down the crime scene
b) Setting up crime scene perimeters
c) Establishing a path of contamination
d) Establishing crime scene security
When an investigator arrives at a crime scene, the need to protect that crime scene becomes a requirement as soon as it has been determined that the criminal event has become an inactive event and the investigator has switched to a strategic investigative response.
3. Evidence Management
The analysis is the process that must occur to establish connections between the victims, witnesses, and suspects in relation to the criminal event. The crime scene is often a nexus of those events and consequently, it requires a systematic approach to ensure that the evidence gathered will be acceptable in court.
4. Scaling the Investigation to the Event
Not every crime scene is a major event that requires an investigator to call out a team and undertake the crime scene and evidence management processes that have been described in this book. Often, for minor crimes, a single investigator will be alone at the crime scene and will engage in all the roles described, albeit on a far smaller scale.
When this process is being undertaken by a single investigator on a smaller scale, the issues of the diagram, security log, and exhibit log may be limited to data and illustrations in the notebook of the investigator.
There is a great opportunity on a day-to-day basis for new investigators to begin practising the protocols of crime scene management on a smaller scale investigating crimes such as break and entry and lower level assaults.
Once these skills of crime scene management and evidence management are learned and incorporated into daily practice, they will become the procedural norm and will form the essential operational habits for proper and professional investigative practice