Investigation refers to a systematic observation or conduction of an official inquiry. In law enforcement terms it refers to an official inquiry of a crime scene. Criminal investigators can have both primary and secondary reasons for their investigation. This analysis of the crime scene through a collection of evidence and recreation of the scene helps them understand the limits of the circumstances more astutely and this information is invaluable when it comes to a conviction of the perpetrator (Dobovšek, 2019 p70). Representation in popular culture of law enforcement has blurred the lines between forensic investigation and criminal investigation. The information-gathering follows the Rand Study Recommendations and not one bit of the investigation is concerned with guilt or innocence, that part is left to the judge. Collection of physical evidence and intelligence may both contribute towards the ultimate goal of identifying, apprehending and convicting the perpetrator but they are very different in nature. Collection of intelligence refers to collecting seemingly unrelated bits and pieces of information to create and analyse collated data that will provide direction for future decision making. This can help the law enforcement team to understand the nature of crimes, perhaps prevent additional crimes and understand the complexities of the case and solve it.
There are several types of investigations that take place under the purview of law enforcement. The first one is investigations of violations of law for instance investigation into criminal activities and traffic violations. Second, are through investigation of people who are going to hold positions of power and trust, this requires investigation into their character and background to look for signs of anything harmful or potentially dangerous. The third type of investigation is a little more generalised in nature and intend to keep the rate of traditional crimes low. If these third type of investigations are not committed, and community studies are not evaluated, it would lead to more increase in the number of crimes. For example, routine drug raids or programs upon juvenile delinquency (Bailey & Rothblatt, 1985). It comes under the purview of every investigating officer to understand the implications and seriousness associated with each of these instances to develop intelligence and data about the perils that exist in society.
The application scientific method to analyse a crime scene is an integral part of the criminal investigation. The forensic evaluation of the evidence available at the crime scene can give an unprecedented level of clarity and insight into the criminal event and even help in implicating the criminal (Becker & Dutelle, 2018 p9). Forensic investigation refers to the application of science to civil and criminal law.
With the emergence of pathology in the late 19th century, the entire landscape of criminal investigation was transformed. Alphonso Bertillon who came from a family of medical doctors and mathematicians used his knowledge to create a link between the crime scene investigations and the uniqueness of physical characteristics. Whether it was fingerprints or bloodstains. Or even semen samples, each evidence collected by the criminal investigation team could thoroughly be analysed in the laboratory to determine a high degree of individuality (Siegel & Mirakovits, 2015 p15). Through this, a lot of intelligence could be developed which would further influence the decision-making process and lead the investigation. Collection of data on suspects and identifying and liking the evidence could help immensely in it being authenticated in court.
Intelligence primarily began as a military tool and has been brought into the area of law enforcement pretty late. It the beginning it was limited to the solving of crimes and court proceedings but now advanced technology is making its way into not just analysing the crime scene but using the data to even prevent crimes because it is tending to produce quick results (Ross, 2015 p11). Forensic intelligence model is on its way to becoming an overall investigative tool that helps in quick real-time transmission and analysis of data for resolving criminal investigations with the help of on scene submissions. It becomes more and more important for investigators and law forces to be extra vigilant about the details now as this is what helps in a thorough analysis of the evidence collected. As is the case in any situation the extra scrutiny on the part of the investigator can help in making the process more efficient for further decision making.
In the late 1970s, the USA FBI came up with several techniques that would allow them insights about the criminal masterminds. This was intended to collect more and more data on intelligence to the point where psychoanalysis of the criminal testimonies revealed shocking information about their psyche and what they think before they commit the crime. The lists included serial killers, rapists and paedophiles. The model investigation technique developed by the FBI was revolutionary in every way and helped the force identify and comprehensively understand the nature of crimes and the psychology behind it. Not only was this extremely helpful in the development of new interrogative techniques that helped in implicating the perpetrators faster, but it also led to various innovative methodologies being implemented to end numerous open cases (Douglas & Olshaker, 1998).
Understanding the anatomy of a crime is of crucial importance for any criminal investigator along with which they must take special care about dissecting the motives of the scene. While still following the Rand study model, this puts extra emphasis on the role of the Patrol officer in completely scrutinising the crime scene and conducting the in-depth interview of victims and witness to completely assess the crime scene. Determining the involvement of the suspect in additional crime scenes as well as recording the information obtained are now indispensable parts of a criminal investigation.
Regardless of their specialization criminal investigators must be well versed with the policy and legal guidelines established by the court. Knowledge of criminal law and criminal procedures is expected of all investigators. The investigator gas to be mindful to link all the clues to the crime. Other than having a broad scope of knowledge, they must also be efficient in gathering each piece of information related to the crime to properly aid the decision-making process. The alacrity of the investigatory determines the quality of justice delivery.
Becker, R. F., & Dutelle, A. W. (2018). Criminal investigation. Jones & Bartlett Learning.pg 9-10
Siegel, J. A., & Mirakovits, K. (2015). Forensic science: the basics. CRC Press., pg.15-16
Ross, A. (2015). Elements of a forensic intelligence model. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 47(1), 8-15.
Douglas, J. E., & Olshaker, M. (1998). Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's elite serial crime unit. Simon and Schuster.
Bailey, F. L., & Rothblatt, H. B. (1985). Investigation and preparation of criminal cases. Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Company.
Dobovšek, B. (2019). Seventy Years of the Journal of Criminal Investigation and Criminology: Linking Past Experience to the Quantum Revolution. Journal of Criminal Investigation and Criminology/Ljubljana, 70, 2.
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