What are the primary functions of the initial Police Responders?
- attending the scene at an early stage
- taking control of the situation and
- co-ordinating tasks.
Who is responsible for health and safety?
Maximising safety and eliminating or minimising risk at work is the responsibility of all Police employees and persons engaged by Police to provide a service. It is delivered through meeting the obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and Police safety policies
What tool is used to assess health and safety risks?
What is the expectation of the Commissioner and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015?
It is that persons in the workplace will:
- take reasonable care to ensure that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons
- comply as far as they are reasonably able to with any reasonable instruction that is given in order to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 or regulations under that Act.
- co-operate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health or safety at the workplace that has been notified to them
- take immediate action to stop any perceived or potential breach of the act or if impractical, immediately report the matter to a supervisor.
Whilst most offences of homicide are identified as a result of a body being found or by a person responsible for the offence making admissions, some incidents notified to the police are not initially identifiable as a homicide. Such instances may include:
- report of a missing person
- sudden unexplained death of an infant
- unexplained death
- report of an abduction
- report of violence where no fatalities are anticipated
- crime scene without a body present
- hit and run
- vehicular collision
- fatal fire
- drug related deaths
What is the general investigation model that should be applied in all initial response cases?
Victim Appreciation Witnesses Scene Exhibits Ingredients Powers Offenders
From VAWSEPO what is the definition and technique of V
Identify and locate the victim(s).
From VAWSEPO what is the definition and technique of A
Make an initial appreciation of the incident. Assess personal risk and then preserve the lives of others.
From VAWSEPO what is the definition and technique of W
Locate and contain witnesses
From VAWSEPO what is the definition and technique of S
Preserve the scene (e.g. set boundaries).
From VAWSEPO what is the definition and technique of E
Note evidence and preserve any that would otherwise be lost or destroyed
From VAWSEPO what is the definition and technique of I
Consider whether the ingredients of the alleged offence have been established.
From VAWSEPO what is the definition and technique of P
Identify what powers are available and consider whether to execute them
From VAWSEPO what is the definition and technique of O
Identify and apprehend suspect(s).
What is an appreciation?
An appreciation is a proven method of problem solving. A process that follows a series of set steps to ensure the optimum course of action is decided upon. It considers all appropriate factors and weighs the benefits and risks of all alternative solutions, allowing sound decisions to be taken. An appreciation is an ongoing process which involves continually thinking through each new piece of information as it is uncovered.
What are the benefits of conducting an appreciation?
Informs all Police what they are expected to achieve
Increases the chances of success, i.e. the investigative aims/objectives being met
Establishes a sequence of activities to be carried out
Reduces uncertainty Eliminates duplication
Ensures nothing is overlooked
Effective use of resources
What are the four steps of an appreciation?
As part of an appreciation, what is the definition of Aim?
An aim is a short (one line) statement which briefly demonstrates a single objective
As part of an appreciation, what is the definition of Factors
A factor is any circumstance or fact that could possibly have an effect on the manner in which you will achieve your desired outcome
As part of an appreciation, what is the definition of Courses Open
Courses open are a list of all the possible ways the aim could be achieved, bearing in mind the factors and the deductions made from those factors.
As part of an appreciation, what is the definition of Plan
A plan is a proposed course of action designed to put the selected course into action in order to achieve the desired aim.
What is the Police’s purpose when investigating a death?
to investigate thoroughly and gather sufficient evidence to satisfactorily explain the circumstances of the death.
What information should be obtained from a complainant/informant?
-identity and location of the suspect
-a first hand account of what the complainant/informant knows
-precise details of the location of the scene
circumstances leading to the discovery
-identity of the victim
-details of anyone else at the scene
-full contact details of the complainant/informant
-demeanour of the complainant/informant
-relationship of the complainant/informant, to the victim or suspect
-details of action the complainant/informant has taken and where they have been
-details of any hazards or safety issues that may affect Police approaching the scene/victim
Where there is a delay between the initial report and Police arriving, what else should complainant/informant be asked to do to reduce the risk of evidence being lost or contaminated?
- to return to the proximity of the scene, and guard it, if it is considered safe for them to do so
- not to enter the obvious boundaries of the scene
- not to touch or move anything
- to prevent others from entering or touching the scene
- to await Police arrival and identify themselves to the first Police at the scene.
It is imperative that Police responders do what first when attending a scene?
ensure their own safety, the safety of other responders and that of others present at the scene.
This should be done by making an appreciation on the known information to establish what the initial action should be,
What are the three categories of establishing the victims medical status?
Alive an uninjured
Alive and injured
Shows no sign of life
When a patient is transported to Hospital what should occur?
Obtain details of the ambulance crew and their designation and if possible, a Detective should accompany the victim to hospital or attend hospital without delay.
What steps should be followed where a victim has been taken to hospital?
1: Obtain a medical opinion as to the victim’s current medical condition
2: Seize the victims clothing and other possessions as evidence.
3: Establish the victims identity
4: Obtain a pre-transfusion blood sample using Police Toxicology Kit containers
5: Seize any discarded bandages used to cover gunshot wounds, and record the position on the victim where each bandage had been applied
6: Arrange firearms residue samples in cases where firearm use is suspected, including from the victim of any apparent suicide involving a firearm
7: Note and photograph any injuries
8: Arrange DNA swabs to be taken from the victim’s skin, where they would be relevant to the particular circumstances of the case
9: Obtain details of any and all persons who visit or contact the victim
10: Conduct a scoping interview with the victim using appropriate open questioning (i.e. TEDS) to establish what happened and who was involved; where this would not adversely affect the medical welfare of the victim.
11: Conduct a preliminary interview with ambulance and emergency staff who treated the victim, using appropriate open questioning (e.g. using TEDS) to establish what happened and who was involved.
What should you do if it is anticipated that the victim will die?
consider recording an immediate statement, whether the victim can sign it or not. If the victim subsequently dies, their statement may be admissible in proceedings as hearsay evidence, under section 18(1) of the Evidence Act 2006
What factors under S16(1) of the Evidence Act 2006 are considered when assessing if a victims dying statement is admissible?
- the nature of the statement;
- the contents of the statement;
- the circumstances relating to the making of the statement;
- circumstances relating to the veracity of the person;
- circumstances relating to the accuracy of the observation of the person.
What is the fundamental responsibility for all Police employees?
To preserve life.
What steps should be followed when a body is discovered?
1 Consider calling an ambulance and resuscitation, if appropriate. If the victim has to be moved for this purpose, note the original body position and record any previous movements.
2 Remain with the body until relieved by CIB or a supervisor
3 Arrange a doctor to pronounce life extinct, unless death is obvious
4 Treat the ‘victim’ as a scene (do not move the body unnecessarily).
5 Instruct medical staff to leave clothes on the body
6 If medical treatment has been given then request that connecting tubes, needles, bandages and other medical items are left ‘in situ’
7 If possible, conduct scoping interviews with medical staff who treated the victim and establish their actions, apparent cause of death and injury type(s).
8 Ascertain if the victim spoke to anyone before death and record what was said.
9 Record body position, lividity (gravitational settling of the blood), obvious injuries and clothing.
10 Objectively record everything observed using all senses, including sight, sound and smell. Include what is considered unimportant or non-evidential as after further investigation, such information may become relevant.
11 Record all exhibits.
12 Sketch a plan including the position of the body and position of exhibits.
13 Provide full information to the OC Investigation, at an early stage.
What are the five steps to the initial action of preserving a scene?
Identify Secure Preserve Consider Record
What action is taken under the initial step of IDENTIFY when securing a scene?
- Gather information and carry out an initial assessment of the scene.
- Consider your warrantless powers to deal with evidential material in respect of serious offences, pursuant to the Search and Surveillance Act 2012.
- Establish the ‘Crime Scene’ itself. Extend parameters as widely as possible, thinking beyond where the body is found to capture any exhibits, weapons or items the suspect may have discarded.
- Consider possible approach paths and establish a Common Approach Path (CAP) for all movements into and out of the scene; using a path which avoids any route possibly taken to and from the scene by the suspect(s) or the victim.
- Consider other ‘related’ crime scenes.
- What is happening at the scene and who is there?
- Note and record observations.
- Establish a scene headquarters, and safe arrival / assembly points.
- Provide a SITREP ()/SFP to Comms and obtain acknowledgement.
What action is taken under the initial step of SECURE when securing a scene?
- Where necessary, exercise powers to secure the scene pursuant to section 116 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012.
- Effect removal of all persons within the scene in a way that causes a minimum of disturbance to the scene.
- Establish cordoned parameters using Police emergency tape.
- Arrange and brief scene guards with clearly defined duties using Police employees or civilian security guards, as per local policy. If necessary, reliable members of the public may initially act as guards until further Police arrive.
- Arrange Crime Scene Logs.
- Prevent unauthorised persons from entering or leaving the scene.
- Prevent any further loss or damage to evidence caused by adverse weather or other factors, such as animals.
What action is taken under the initial step of PRESERVE when securing a scene?
- Consider the best path into the scene.
- Record any movements/action taken in the scene
- Preserve what is there and leave it ‘in situ’. Ensure nothing is touched or moved. The scene must be kept in its original state.
- If no immediate life is at risk, consider using stepping plates.
- Be prepared to take immediate action to preserve and/or record evidence that may change if nothing is done. For example, rain may damage a footprint or bloodstain
What action is taken under the initial step of CONSIDER when securing a scene?
If initial photographs of the scene and persons present are necessary.
What action is taken under the initial step of RECORD when securing a scene?
- the integrity of the scene by establishing and maintaining a crime scene log of movements, names, times and reasons for entry and exit to the scene.
- Observe and record full notes of precise details of the scene, particularly the location of the victim.
- Complete a sketch of the scene.
- Photograph the scene and consider using video recording.
- Identify anything which is moved, noting the original and eventual positions.
- Make an accurate record of these facts and report them to the OC Investigation at an early stage
What is a crime scene log?
Records the details, time and purpose of all persons who enter, attempt to enter, or leave the crime scene, as well as any other activity around the crime scene which the scene guard perceives to be relevant to the case
What is the purpose of a scene guard and log?
To ensure that:
- there is no unauthorised entry into the scene
- integrity of evidence or potential evidence is secured
- intelligence opportunities are maximised
- contamination issues are managed.
What are the duties of a scene guard?
- Secure the scene and deny any person access to the scene, unless they are expressly authorised to enter by the Officer in Charge of the Investigation or the Crime Scene Coordinator/OC Scene.
- Record details by maintaining a crime scene log and note for every person authorised to enter the scene:
- Control movements by ensuring everyone entering the scene is directed to the Common Approach Path to be followed and is supervised during the visit.
- Record all movement and vehicle details to, from and near the scene, in the crime scene log.
- Brief others and promptly communicate any relevant information received to the OC Scene or Crime Scene Co-ordinator (as appropriate).
- Avoid disturbance and do not personally enter, contaminate or interfere with the scene,
- Protect the scene and remain vigilant for activity such as the presence of any animals which may feed on body tissue etc.
- Remain on duty until relieved by the oncoming scene guard.
- Brief the oncoming Scene Guard on all relevant matters and hand on the crime scene log.
- Respect security and do not discuss events or the crime with witnesses, bystanders or members of the media.
- Use tact and courtesy when dealing with civilian witnesses and crowds.
- Report any actions taken to the OC () Scene or Crime Scene Co-ordinator as appropriate
What points as a minimum should be covered with a witness at the scene of a serious investigation?
- What happened
- Where exactly the incident happened
- When it happened
- Who was involved
- What the witness did
- Where the witness went
- What the witness touched
- Who touched the witness
- Who else was present
- Descriptions of those present
- What did those other people present say/do.
When dealing with witnesses at the scene, what is important to consider and what should be done?
Forensic evidence that may be on the person and a plan should be made to preserve that evidence.
The plan to preserve and recover evidence from a forensically important witness should consider these issues, where applicable:
- Immediate DNA swabs of any areas of the witness that the suspect may have touched.
- Immediate DNA swabs of any blood present on the witness.
- Immediate swabs of any other relevant stains present on the witness.
- Forensic medical examination, i.e. fingernail scrapings, hair combing etc.
- Seizure of clothing and footwear.
- Seizure of any items of property touched by the suspect
When preserving forensic evidence what points should be considered?
- Avoid any potential cross contamination issues by arranging for witnesses who have been present at a crime scene, to use different vehicles and interview rooms to those used by other witnesses, the victim or suspect(s).
- Photographing witnesses at the scene enables future identification of witnesses;
- Photograph any injuries suffered by witnesses.
What should be done where a witness has used electronic devices at the scene of a crime, what should be done?
every effort should be made to obtain and download the images. By identifying, locating and interviewing witnesses at the scene, Police can obtain crucial eye witness accounts and also other sources of visual evidence.
What steps should be taken in obtaining key material from witnesses?
1 - Obtain full details of all persons present at the scene.
2 - Assemble people in a clear area, ensuring a police officer remains with them.
3 - If possible, isolate witnesses from one another to reduce the likelihood of contamination and/or collusion. Explain this rationale to the witnesses.
4 - Identify witnesses and conduct a brief scoping interview, using open TEDS questioning. Include descriptions of other persons mentioned.
5 - Establish whether any persons have left the area.
6 - If the witness has made telephone calls from the scene, establish the numbers such calls were made from and to, and who answered. This may verify accounts and times.
7 - Record registration numbers of nearby vehicles to establish which drivers/passengers may have been in the area.
8 - Seize any CCTV () relevant to the vicinity/routes to establish who may have been in the area at the relevant time.
What procedure should be followed where a suspect is located at a scene?
1 - Separate suspects from other persons at the scene.
2 - Consider the condition of the suspect, whether they are injured, under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or suffer from a medical or mental impairment or other special consideration.
3 - Ask them to remain at the scene and to co-operate with police. As soon as possible, remove the suspect from the scene by consent or with lawful justification.
4 - If the suspect refuses to co-operate, consider whether grounds exist to arrest them and what the most appropriate offence will be.
5 - To prevent cross contamination issues, consider using officers who have not entered the scene to manage the suspect, if available.
6 - If the suspect is . . . then . . .
arrested or detained - caution the suspect.
not arrested or detained but Police want to question them and there is good cause to suspect they committed an offence -
caution the suspect, where required.
If the caution is given before the suspect is arrested or detained, the advice must be repeated on arrest or detention.
a child or young person - caution, where required.
7 - Consider searching the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle and belongings to prevent the disposal of evidence and for the searcher’s safety, pursuant to the Search and Surveillance Act 2012.
8 - Consider searching the vicinity of the suspect and the area or route they are thought to have taken, in order to recover discarded or secreted evidence.
9 - Note the suspect’s appearance and behaviour. 10 - Record everything the suspect says and if appropriate, consider conducting a preliminary interview in accordance with the ‘Investigative interviewing suspect guide’.
11 - Whenever possible, interviewing of suspects should be recorded on video in accordance with the ‘Investigative interviewing suspect guide’.
12 - Brief the OC Investigation on their arrival, highlighting any significant risks surrounding cross-contamination or movement within or near the scene.
What should you do if media are present at the scene?
Keep them away from the immediate crime scene cordon and make no comment about the incident. Consult with the OC () Investigation on arrival and explain what has happened, identify media members and where they are located.
What should be done before leaving the scene?
At the earliest opportunity a sit-rep should be provided to the Communications Centre and where possible, the senior CIB () member or GCSB () supervisor who is likely to assume immediate control.
The OC () Investigation will expect a briefing from the officer in initial charge of the incident, as to
- What has occurred?
- What action has been taken?
- What has not been done?
- What needs to be done?