Who is the OC Suspects responsible to?
The OC () Suspects is responsible for supervising the members of the Suspects Team for the purpose of
- obtaining information about suspects and persons of interest
- thoroughly profiling and investigating all suspects and persons of interest to enable the OC Investigation to establish their involvement in the offence or eliminate them from the inquiry
- seeking evidence to cover all ingredients of the offence(s)
- mitigating and dealing with possible defences that may be raised, where appropriate
- providing a basis for further investigation.
Management of suspects falls into three categories and where appropriate, the OC Investigation will prepare a strategy dealing with each:
- Identification and profiling.
What is a suspect?
A suspect is a person of interest who has gained added status because of a direct or indirect connection to the circumstances of the crime. Such a connection might relate to motive, opportunity or means
The first duty of the OC () Suspects is to brief their suspects team members. To enable them to do this, the OC Suspects should analyse the information available such as witness statements, police reports and information from the scene. Their initial briefing should encompass:
- the circumstances of the offence
- the full details of all persons of interest and any suspect, where the identity of suspects are known
- details of any descriptions of the suspect provided by witnesses
- whether any particular modus operandi/crime signatures have been identified.
Possible suspects may be indicated from or by:
- area canvass
- intelligence analysis
- Police notings linking suspect to relevant area
- DNA samples
- witness evidence
- Police FV () teams
- CHIS ()
- response to publicity and media reports
- other Police employees or groups
- enquiries with external government agencies
- enquiries made with non-government agencies or at particular venues
After analysing all witness interviews/statements, a schedule of descriptions of the suspect can be prepared and where appropriate distributed, for example by circulating copies:
- to members of the search, area canvass and investigation teams
- the media (via the Media Liaison Officer)
A careful risk assessment will be required prior to releasing any suspect description in the circumstances above. Any media release must be authorised by the OC () Investigation.
What is FACES
This is a computerised facial identification system used to compile a likeness of an offender from the description supplied by the witness and it should be completed early, while the details are fresh in the witness’s mind
Any photographs of clothing or duplicates of property used by the suspect may be utilised in any combination of these ways:
- for release to the media
- to be used by investigators during an area canvass
- in the conduct of suspect enquiries.
Where the place of residence of a suspect who has yet to be identified is known, consider:
- NIA () enquiries
- enquiries with the local council to identify the property owner
- conducting a reconnaissance of the area
- monitoring the address through surveillance
- taking photographs of any persons and vehicles as they enter or leave the premises
- monitoring use of the suspect’s telephone via a Production Order
- enquiries with the local authority and utility providers to identify who lives at that address.
What does TIE stand for?
Trace, Interview and Eliminate
How is a TIE category created?
A TIE category is created by selecting a common characteristic shared by a group of people, which may include the offender. These group characteristics will depend on the circumstances of the crime. The suspect team must conduct elimination enquiries by tracing and interviewing persons who populate these TIE categories, and where possible, eliminating them against a set of elimination criteria determined by the OC Investigation.
Intelligence Research should aim to collect all available information and attempt to establish or find:
- the names and aliases used by the suspect
- the suspect’s previous criminal history, convictions and modus operandi
- places of residence, work and any other premises the suspect has access to
- details of vehicles owned, used or that the suspect has access to
- details of all landline and cellular telephones used by the suspect
- a full description of the suspect
- a recent photograph of the suspect
- medical records
- licence details held for firearms
- whether the suspect has any access to firearms
- details of accounts held or used by the suspect,
- offender reports from previous occasions
- intelligence noting forms of previous sightings by Police
- employment details and attendance record
- the suspect’s lifestyle, associates and places frequented
- movements of the suspect
- marital status, and details of any spouse or family members
- names and details of known associates
- any intelligence suggesting that the suspect may have committed other offences
- intelligence that will enhance rapport building and the interview process.
Take a broad view of the potential sources where information about a suspect may be acquired from. These should include passive data generators which are automated systems that gather and collate information for various purposes. These may include:
- financial information/bank records
- CCTV () and other images
- personal computer information
- telecommunications information
- voice-recording systems
- customer information
- access/door security systems
- vehicle GPS ()
- toll records
- cellular telephones
- Internet websites/social media
When identification is an issue and the identity of a possible suspect is known, consider establishing identity by
by staging a visual identification procedure. This normally involves a photograph montage or less frequently, an identification (ID) parade.
Before any arrest/termination, the OC Suspects must consult the OC Investigation regarding an arrest strategy, to ensure:
- an investigator is appointed to be responsible for each suspect.
- the decision to prosecute, choice of charges and prosecution processes are conducted in accordance with the Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines
- clarity on the position to be taken by Police on the question of bail
- authority to engage the Crown Solicitor is obtained from the Police Prosecutions Service, where appropriate
- the family of the deceased are updated via the Family Liaison Officer
- prompt preparation of the prosecution file
- compliance by the Disclosure Manager, or File Manager where one is not appointed
Prior to interviewing a suspect, the OC () Suspects should:
- liaise with the OC Investigation regarding selection of the interviewer
- consult with the OC Investigation regarding the most appropriate mode of recording the interview, usually on video
- establish, in consultation with the OC Investigation, the status of the person as a witness, person of interest or suspect.
- consider whether the person requires special consideration
- consult with other interviewing experts or legal advisor, if required
- ensure the interviewer is fully briefed
- ensure the interviewer is familiar with the procedures outlined in the Investigative interviewing suspect guide
- discuss with the interviewer the ingredients that need to be established, the suspect’s background, and possible alibis and motives
- ensure that the inteviewer has prepared a detailed interview plan.
During any interview of a suspect, the OC () Suspects must ensure that:
- the interview is conducted in accordance with the ‘Investigative interviewing suspect guide’
- the interview is monitored by a supervisor or experienced Detective to ensure that all key points and areas are covered
- ensure an explanation is sought from the suspect in relation to any exhibits found
After an arrest is made, the OC () Suspects should:
- ensure suspects are isolated from each other, where there is more than one suspect
- ensure that each suspect arrested is advised of their rights in accordance with the Bill of Rights Act 1990
- in the case of a juvenile suspect, consider and address Police obligations under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989
- consider executing a search for evidence of the suspect’s person, vehicle, home and workplace. Ensure any search of the person of a suspect or their belongings is conducted under a legal authority
On executing a search warrant the OC Suspects should:
- establish the strategy for the search with the OC Investigation,
- ensure a current legal authority exists for the search to be conducted,
- arrange for a photographer and Fingerprint Officer to attend the place being searched
- ensure the OC Exhibits attends the place being searched or where this is not practical; appoint a team member as Scene Exhibits Officer to be responsible for any exhibits at that scene
- ensure if practicable, that the suspect is present while a search is conducted
- search property and vehicles
- assess all the evidence found and ascertain its relevance
- photograph all evidence in situ before you seize it
- consider arranging for evidence to be examined for fingerprints before it is seized
- exhibits must only be seized under a lawful authority,
- seek explanations from the suspect regarding any exhibits found, record the explanations provided and ask them to sign the notes and add a declaration certifying the notes as a true and accurate record of what was said
- issue a receipt for any property seized
- ensure all exhibits seized are sealed before removal
- ensure the OC Exhibits, or Scene Exhibits Officer for that scene, labels, examines and records all exhibits in a Scene Exhibit Schedule before finally removing all exhibits seized
exhibits must only be seized under a lawful authority, including:
- stolen property
- the suspect’s clothing and footwear, where required for identification purposes and/or analysis by the ESR
- other evidence that may connect the suspect with the crime
- other evidence in ‘plain view’ or of uncertain status pursuant to sections 112 or 123 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012
What should be done to avoid cross contamination where there is more than one suspect?
- separate officers should be assigned to each suspect.
- Suspects must be kept apart including during travel in vehicles and when in cells.
- All clothing should be packaged, labelled and sealed in accordance with standard procedures before transfer to OC () Exhibits.
The OC () Suspects will arrange, in consultation with the OC Investigation, for a Police doctor to examine the suspect. The doctor must
- note any injuries, such as scratches or bruises
- take samples identified as necessary by the OC () Investigation using a specialist Medical Examination Kit,
- swab the suspect’s hands for firearms residue using a specialist Firearms Detection Kit, as soon as possible where a firearm has been involved in an offence. Such residue may persist on the hands or clothing of a suspect for up to three hours.
- provide a professional opinion regarding the condition of the suspect.
What samples does the Doctor take in the MEK?
- head hair
- Pubic/body hair if relevant
- fingernail scrapings
- swabs of the suspects hands or other relevant areas
Where a suspect refuses to allow a search to be conducted under section 88 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, for evidential material that is reasonably believed to be on the outside of the suspect’s body (e.g. firearm discharge residue on the suspect’s hands or the victim’s DNA on the suspect’s penis), then…
reasonable force may be used to conduct the search.
To confirm the identity of the suspect:
- obtain from the suspect: fingerprints, footprints, palm prints, and blood for DNA analysis
- arrange photographs of the suspect.
- obtain samples of the suspect’s handwriting, where relevant
- record a physical description of the suspect
- record details for the offender report
When conducting an investigation into the state of mind of the suspect, the Police investigation should aim to establish whether the suspect
understood the nature and quality of their actions, and whether they realised the actions were morally wrong. This information may be useful in rebutting a defence of insanity, where it is unjustified.
Where a Court order is made to remand the suspect for psychiatric assessment, the Court must receive the evidence of two health assessors as to whether the defendant is mentally impaired section 14 of the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003 refers. A report must be sent to the Court Registrar or, with the Registrar’s permission, to the superintendent of a psychiatric hospital or penal institution, describing:
- the circumstances of the arrest
- a summary of the offence with which the suspect is charged
- the suspect’s previous criminal history
- the suspect’s previous mental history
- the symptoms and duration of the suspect’s current mental illness, if applicable.
Who is responsible for machining alibi enquiries?
In investigating any alibi offered, the OC () Suspects must:
- make enquiries of people other than the persons whose particulars have been supplied to confirm or rebut evidence in support of the alibi
- complete enquiries to establish where the suspect was at the time of the offence, who they were with and what they were doing
- wherever possible, corroboration of the alibi provided by the suspect should be sought from forensic or other sources that are independent of the suspect.