Working rules aka heuristics - working experience
Range of working rules investigators have depends on their personal working experience.
Unconscious nature of working rules
Working rules can become too familiar making it difficult when describing how a particular decision was reached.
Decisions refer as based on a hunch or common sense.
Nothing wrong with gut reactions however must be able to account to others such as victims witnesses, supervisors and other partners in criminal justice system.
Working rules aka heuristics - required knowledge
Appropriate & accountable decision making is based on an investigators knowledge of:
- The legal framework
- Characteristics of crime
- National policies and procedures
Good decisions are reached by a process of reasoning based on the following sequence:
- Acknowledge that a situation or problem exists in which it is reasonably necessary to make a decision. Ask.
- What is the problem here or what will be the problem soon?
- Identify, isolate and analyse the problem clearly. Ask:
- what do I think the problem is?
- can I state it clearly to define it to others? (Eg in one sentence)
- what do I really know about it?
- Formulate a clear objective. Ask:
- what are we aiming to achieve here?
- Gather all the data and information required to determine the ways in which the aim might be achieved.
- Draw up a list, based on the information, of all the possible ways in which the aim might be achieved.
- Weigh and study each of these alternatives individually. Ask:
- what are the possible results or consequences of each alternative ?
- what is the most appropriate means for reaching the objective?
- what are the best alternatives?
- Prepare a plan for putting the selected course in to action.
Working rules aka ‘heuristics’ - background
Investigators making decisions suggests they rely on a set of working rules aka heuristics developed from ‘on the job’ experience of conducting investigations & also learn working rules from colleagues.
Provide a ‘how we do things around here’ framework.
Disciplined approach to gathering, recording, retaining and presenting evidence.
Disciplined approach to decision making - the technique is instigated when the investigator identifies a question arising from a problem, issue or situation.
Appreciation technique steps
Step 1: Aim or objective
Step 2: Factors
Step 3: Courses open
Step 4: Plan
Step 1: AIM or OBJECTIVE
Short statement or intent beginning with a verb.
Consider what you will do to address the situation or problem and formulate an aim or objective.
Express aim/objective in definite terms .
Should be brief and to the point & there must only be one aim/objective.
Step 2: FACTORS
A statement or truth about some known influence or circumstance.
Identify and consider the factors that will affect your aim or objective.
Examine all the information with the situation or problem. This is called a risk assessment.
Identify what must be done to reduce risk and identify the resources you will require.
FACTORS often need to be considered in an investigation are.
The seriousness of the incident or offence.
The pattern of the incidents or offences
The time available
Material located to date
Policy and procedures required
Known history of the parties
Records that can be tapped
The weather at the time
Start with a FACT and ask the question?
So what? Eg what are the implications of the fact? Asking so what repeatedly helps to extract all information implied by a fact.
Step 3: COURSES OPEN
Options you can identify after having assessed the factors and deductions made from factors.
Eg factors - so what (he will leave the area)- therefore - courses open (Nia check / local knowledge check, media, bully board, Intel)
Step 4: PLAN
Select the most appropriate courses for attention and plan the action you can take.
Is it more than likely to be effective?
Is it proportionate (effort,time, resource)?
Is it achievable?
Will it pass the self test?
Two forms of appreciation
Used for high level or difficult tactical or administrative problems.
Urgent or pressing problems that require immediate action. Or non urgent problems that are not complicated or complex. These are applicable to daily police duties.
Written appreciation & mental appreciation
Written Provides a record of decision making and shows why a course of action was taken. Used when.
Several points to be considered & danger of points being overlooked if they are not written down.
A clear picture of the situation is desired to present a logical argument that will carry conviction to a higher authority.
Factors affecting decision making
Individual bias - perception of people, places, situations.
Verification bias - decision that support a point of view, overlooking alternative lines of Enquiry.
Availability error - eg focussing on victims account (emotionally charged) and overlooking the collection of forensic evidence.
Attitude or state of mind that investigators adopt and develop over time. The values of respect, integrity and professionalism are inherent in the mindset.
Investigative mindset has four key areas of knowledge, understanding and skills in.
The characteristics of crime (nature of crime and criminal behaviour)
National policies and procedures
With an investigative mindset you will knowingly
Apply a principle approach to the collection and evaluation of material
Use logical and deductive reasoning technique to progress the investigation
Make investigative decisions appropriate to the case at stages throughout the investigative process
Evaluate and validate your decision making to others
Stages of criminal investigation
Reactive and proactive. The main difference is how they start.
Reactive = discovery of a crime
Proactive = Information or intelligence indicating that an individual or group is involved in criminal activity.
Often the two methods overlap.
Diagram 1: stages of criminal investigation
Investigative evaluation - further investigation
Suspect management - further investigation
What is ‘MATERIAL’ ?
Substance of any kind, including information and objects, sounds and images, obtained in the course of a criminal investigation that has some bearing in any offence under investigation or any person being investigated, or surrounding circumstances of the case.
Sources of ‘MATERIAL’
Locations, including scenes of crime and the victim/suspects premises
CCTV recordings, phone records, banking and credit cards records, intelligence databases.
Formats for ‘MATERIAL’ are
Physical exhibits such as weapons, clothing, stolen goods, biological or chemical material
Audio or video recordings
Diagram 2: material attrition
The total material generated by an offence
The material gathered by the police
The material that is admissible as evidence
Material generated by an offence
Aim to maximise the amount of material collected and then to closely examine the material for its possible use.
Starting an investigation asap after an offence occurs enhances the opportunity to gather the maximum amount of material.
Whether material becomes information, intelligence or evidence is dependent on the use of which it is put.
Material that is admissible as evidence
The rules that determine what material will be a coveted by a court as evidence are complex and are often contested within a criminal trial. As a consequence all material may be judges to admissible under certain circumstances.
A sound Understanding of evidence act 2006 is required:
Statements of opinion
Improperly obtained material
Information and intelligence
If some material collective d is of a type that is not generally admissible, it does not mean that it should not be gathered or that it will not assist the investigation. Such material may be highly valuable in other investigative activities generating lines of Enquiry that may produce other relevant reliable and admissible material. And should therefore always be gathered.
Whether material becomes information, intelligence or evidence depends on the use to which it is put.
Applying the mindset PRINCIPLE 1 - understanding the source of material
Knowing and understanding the origin of the material collected is essential to be able to effectively examine it and to explain its characteristics and relevance to others.
Applying the mindset PRINCIPLE 2 - Plan and prepare
Covers making careful decisions about the collection of material. It is important that material is gathered asap, and clear objectives to retrieve it are clear to avoid contamination.
Consider the following sources of material when starting a routine Enquiry
Re interviewing the witness/complainant Information sources - Nia, Intel office Local and private agencies Private businesses Scene examination
Planning and preparation should identify how the:
Collection of material will be maximised
Legal policy and procedural requirements are addressed
Specialist or technical equipment or expertise is utilised
The most appropriate location to conduct the collection is prepared, eg interviewing suite, search warrant, Intel office.
Applying the mindset PRINCIPLE 3 - examine all material
Each source of material must be closely scrutinised.
Therefore the collection process you must ensure that:
Immediate action is taken in relation to quality and preservation of material.
It’s reliability is tested at the earliest opportunity.
Relevant records are made
The material is appropriately stored
Examination is usually divided into three areas
When Material is examined an investigator interprets and draws conclusions as to its potential use in the investigation.
The more material gathered about a crime, the easier is it to draw inferences about the contribution a source can make in to the investigation.
In lives identifying and explaining and understanding any inconsistencies or ambiguities the material contains.
This may involve testing it against other material already gathered or identifying actions to acquire further material to clarify it.
Continuously challenge both meaning and reliability of any material gathered.
Adopting and investigative mindset means to treat all material as possibly being wrong or to regards is as potentially misLeading.
Every account should be checked for inconsistency of conflict with other material.
Challenge ABC acronym
Applying the mindset PRINCIPLE 4 a record and collate
Following the examination of a source of material decisions must be made about:
Examination recorded needed Storage required Security Access Conditions to be addressed for disclosure
Applying the mindset PRINCIPLE 5 - evaluate
Evaluation should identify any immediate actions that need to be taken in relation to the source or the material that was gathered from it.
These include actions to test the reliability of the source or the material gathered from it, or any fast track actions that may be needed to secure other material.
Applying the investigative mindset to the collection of material ensures
The maximum amount of material is gathered
It’s reliability is tested at the earliest opportunity
Immediate action is taken in relation to it
Relevant records are made
The material is appropriately stored
Logical deductions are made
Which if the following statements best describes an investigative mindset?
A principled approach to the way investigators examine material and make appropriate and reasonable decisions.
An appreciation is the mental process, the written plan
Records decision making and shows why a certain course of action was decided.
For any investigation you should aim to collect
The maximum amount if material and examine its use
When thinking about written appreciation which TWO of the following choices best describe the difference between a full appreciation and a short appreciation?
A full appreciation is done for difficult or complex problems, a short appreciation is done for less urgent or less complicated problems.
A full appreciation is a lengthy plan, a short appreciation is more likely to be a brief list of billeted points on a notebook page.
What are the sequential steps of the appreciation technique?
Aim, factors, courses open, plan.
What is meant by an investigators working rules?
The knowledge and skills learnt from investigator experience
Which statement best describes hypotheses and why you might use them?
Hypotheses suggest explanations for for a group of facts. They can be used to generate lines of Enquiry.
In the appreciation technique what is a factor?
A statement of truth about an known influence or circumstance
Material gathered during an investigation should be subjected to regular formal evaluation which requires a ‘stepping back’ from the rush of action to take a purposeful and critically reflective view of the investigation .
Th Pe formal evaluation process is as relevant to investigations of volume crime as it is to more serious or complex investigations.
Three types of formal evaluation are inherent ins an investigative mindset
1 investigative evaluation
2 evidential evaluation
3 self and peer evaluation
What is known
What is not known
The overall strength of the case
Whether sufficient evidence exists against the offender to proceed a charge.
Self and peer evaluation
Review of assumptions and decision making
Records organisation and management
Information communication and dissemination
When carrying out an evidential evaluation
The strength of the case is evaluate taking into account on th evidentially admissible material
Evaluation process - diagram 3 investigative and evidential evaluation
Material ( relevance, reliability, admissibility)
Who what when where why how (knowledge)
Lines of Enquiry
Undertake evaluation - set a purposeful objective
Begin by reviewing the material collected to determine what questions and or problems n be identified.
Undertake evaluation - filter the material
Examine the material gathered through filters of relevance, reliably and admissibility
Material is relevant when it has some bearing on the investigation or any person being investigated, or on the surrounding circumstances of the case. It is relevant unless it is incapable of having an impact on the case.
Prudent for material reliability to be reviewed through evaluation to ensure that any potential problems have not been overlooked.
Formal evaluation provides the opportunity to revisit decision making about factors such as witness reliability, previous offending, and known associates as these factors may not have been known at the time of collection.
Evidential evaluation requires the additional filter of admissibility . Applying this helps ensure that The max amount of material will be available to the courts in an evidentially acceptable format.
Undertake evaluation - organise knowledge
Material gathered provides knowledge of the incident, offence or problem under investigation.
Organise the knowledge in a way that identifies gaps in the material collection from which to identify potential lines of enquiry.
The 5wh is effective way to organise any knowledge you have about an investigation .
Undertake evaluation - test interpretation
Test the validity of your decision making.
Undertake evaluation - hypotheses
A suggested explanation for a group of facts either accepted as a basis for further verification or accepted as likely to be true
Hypothesising is a form of creative thinking that lets you look at the knowledge held in another way - (what if?)
Which of the following best describes an investigative mindset
A state of mind
For any investigation you should aim to collect,
The maximum amount of material and examine for its use.
Which statement best describes hypothesis and why you might use them.
In the appreciation technique what is a factor?
A statement of truth about a known influence or circumstance.
When thinking about written appreciation which two of the following choices best describe the difference between a full appreciate and a short appreciation.
A full appreciation.
What is meant by an investigators working rules.
The knowledge and skills learnt from investigation experience.
An appreciation is the mental process. The written plan
Records decision making and shows why a certain course of action was taken.