Posts Tagged ‘Criminal Investigation Department’

How many times have you come across fictional lead detectives or Senior Investigating Officers (SIOs) with no idea where they came from?  It’s almost as if they were born a lead detective or joined the police to automatically become one.

I’m sure that you already know that in the UK,  it isn’t possible and never has been for a person to join the police as a detective, let alone a Senior Investigating Officer.  You’ll no doubt also know that it’s not possible for any old cop to get to those dizzy heights without the right amount and type of experience or training.

Now, if you are reading the nth book in a series, it may be that the SIO’s development and career progression are discussed in earlier book in the series but in all likelihood, there will be no mention of how they got to the pinnacle of their career or what they had to do to become the leader of a complex murder investigation.

The reason that you will come across such instances and maybe even be guilty of doing something similar yourself, is probably because not many authors happen to have a close relationship with a police officer who has years of experience of policing in the UK that they can call upon to answer accurately and reliably, their troubling questions about the police, their policies and procedures.  Maybe no-one has taken the time to explain to you or the writer of the story you are recalling, just what it takes to become an SIO and lead a murder investigation in the UK.

But never fear.  Help is at hand for those of you wanting to learn about what it takes for a police officer to become an SIO and thereby make your lead detective more credible and identify areas where conflict may stem or opportunities arise from.

A Writer’s Guide to Senior Police Investigators in the UK will take you through – A Writer's Guide to Senior Investigating Police Officers in the UK by [Robinson, Kevin N.]

  • What exactly a lead investigator and Senior Investigating Officer is
  • How they become one
  • What training they undertake
  • What 38 qualities and expectations they are expected to exhibit
  • You will find 27 specific ideas of how to take your stories forward and/or create conflict in them
  • There are also hyperlinks to 79 websites or documents that you may find useful in building up your understanding of what a Senior Investigating Officer needs to know and apply during a major investigation.

Not only will this book provide you with details of how a police officer can become a Senior Investigating Officer but it can help with plotting your novel and creating twists and conflict along the way.

It’s crammed full of expert knowledge and advice that you can use to captivate your readers with compelling dialogue and narrative.

Just a couple of the five-star reviews state:

I have never felt compelled to write a review before but in this case I felt it only right to do so. I am an ex-police officer in the middle of writing my first crime-related novel and I have to say how invaluable this book has been to me. I thought I was doing well with my descriptions of procedures and command structures but I cannot believe just how much the job has changed since I left.

If I hadn’t bought a copy of this (I also have the authors other titles) I would have made myself look like a rank amateur stuck somewhere in the 90’s. This book has saved me hours upon hours of research and helped me re-think certain parts of my book and for that alone, thank you Mr Robinson.

I only wish these books were available in paperback format. I’d have a copy of them as well. Call me old fashioned, but I like a book I can flick through and mark up where necessary and as much as Kindle comes close to a book experience it doesn’t really work quite as well with this kind of book in my opinion. That said, no other format allows for hyperlinking to other valuable resources so, swings and roundabouts.

All in all, a superb, densely packed no fluff resource that is worth far, far more than what it is being offered at.

Another great book from retired UK Police Inspector, Kevin N. Robinson! Packed full of useful info – really helpful for anyone with an interest in how the UK police force works, especially with regards to those investigating crime. A gem for writers & crime fiction authors. It’s the little details that make a story authentic and it’s great to have a source which collects all the necessary info, such as what an inspector would normally carry with him (would he have a forensic suit? gloves? what weapons? etc) – particularly for those less familiar with British police (who are quite different from the armed US law enforcement officers you see more commonly on TV!)

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In Part 1, we looked at how a police interview with a suspect in a police station should commence.  If you missed Part 1, you can review it here.

This post looks at what MUST be said next by the interviewing officer.  If they fail to say these words or others that describe the same thing in simpler terms for someone unable to understand the phraseology, anything said that may be used as evidence against the suspect, may and probably would be excluded from any subsequent court case.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING. BUT IT MAY HARM YOUR DEFENCE IF YOU DO NOT MENTION WHEN QUESTIONED SOMETHINGPolice interview YOU LATER RELY ON IN COURT. ANYTHING YOU DO SAY MAY BE GIVEN IN EVIDENCE.

This can be broken down as follows, to ensure the suspect understands:

• You do not have to answer my questions.

• However, should this matter go to court and you tell the court something which you could have reasonably told me during this interview, the court may be less likely to believe you and that could harm your defence.

• The tapes of this interview may be played in court, so the court will be able to hear what you have said.

Only after the introduction in Part 1 and this Caution are said to the suspect, can the interview start in earnest.  Failure to address either part may render any information, evidence or admission that subsequently comes to light in the interview, may be excluded from the prosecution case put before the court.  Therefore, if there is no corroborating evidence to the confession, the case may well be thrown out of court, if it ever gets there in the first place.

For more information you may find useful, follow the links in the updated and expanded British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers 2016, which you can acquire by clicking on the link above or the image below.

BPCD 2016 Cover on Amazon

You can also check out many more facts about policing in 218 Facts a Writer Needs to Know About the Police.

218 Fact Cover

If you are going to have your fictional suspect interviewed in the police station, you will need to know what should be said at the start of the interview.

The Recorded Interview Aide Memoire produced by the College of Policing advises the following:

This interview is being taped recorded and may be given in evidence if your case is brought to trial.

We are in an interview room at (police station name).Police interview

The date is (date) and the time by my watch is (time).

I am (rank and name).

The other police officer(s) present is/are (rank and name).

Please state your full name and date of birth.

Also present is (solicitor, appropriate adult, interpreter).

Do you agree that there are no other persons present? (Yes or no).  (Where appropriate adult present) You are not here to act simply as an observer. Your role here is to advise (suspect), facilitate communication and ensure that the interview is conducted fairly.

(To the suspect) Before the start of this interview – I must remind you that you are entitled to free and independent legal advice either in person or by telephone at any stage (regardless of whether or not a solicitor is present). Do you wish to speak to a legal advisor now or have one present during the interview? (If no, ask for reasons.)

At the conclusion of the interview, I will give you a notice explaining what will happen to the tapes (or recording where digital rather than taped) and how you and/or your solicitor can get access to them.

Watch out for the next post that explains what should be said after this introduction or if you can’t wait, you could always seek out  the answer  using the updated and expanded British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers 2016, which you can acquire by clicking on the link above or the image below.

BPCD 2016 Cover on Amazon

Further tips can be garnered from 218 Facts a Writer Needs to Know About the Police.218 Fact Cover

 

Keep your mailboxes open to make sure that you don’t miss the launch of my next book218 Facts a Writer Needs to Know About the Police at an enticing early-bird price.

Forget about spending hours and hours conducting your own research or trying to find a friendly cop with enough knowledge and experience to be able to help answer your questions. Instead, buy 218 Facts a Writer Needs to Know About the Police and you’ll find the answers already there for you in an easy to navigate Table of Contents.

You’ll find 40 story ideas based on 218 facts in 36 different areas to both educate and stimulate your creative inclinations.

One of the key positions in any police Intelligence Cell is that of the analyst.  Their role is vital in any major investigation where they can even be a part of the Senior Investigating Officer’s management team.

The analyst can be a police officer but most forces employ civilian analysts.  Their primary role is to receive information and to convert it into intelligence through analysis.

Seven of the most common tasks they may undertake include:

  • Conducting environmental scanning of the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal and Organisational (PESTELO) issues to provide an overview of the environment as it relates to the commission of the crime or is likely to affect the subsequent investigation;
  • Drawing networks of associates of both a victim and potential or actual suspect;
  • Telephone call analysis, charting specific telephones to assist with identifying associations between telephones and the patterns of calls involved;
  • Analysing local and regional crime and incident patterns to identify similar offences and/or precursor incident;
  • Analysing a series of crimes and identifying common denominators between different, possibly linked crimes;
  • Drawing charts of (possibly) significant events including a suspect/victim’s sequence of events chart and an extended sequence of events specific to a particular suspect;
  • Analysing prison intelligence; communications intelligence; intelligence from surveillance and undercover operations.

Could you use an analyst in your crime fiction?

You can find more information to help your story-writing by following this blog or using your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:

BPCD Cover

Intelligence Units can play an essential role in any major investigations such as murder or serial rape.  In such instances, they are usually based within the Major Incident Room.  An Intelligence Cell or Unit will not be present in all major investigations but will be included where the investigation is complex.  The Cell may be located with the main investigation team or may be based somewhere else such as at the force headquarters.  This possibility tends to hinder the effectiveness of the Cell.

Regardless of its location, the Cell should have easy access to all the documentation that comes into the Major Incident Room. Where this is not the case, their capability becomes impaired.

Intelligence cells can be directed to undertake a wide range of tasks including the processing of information, providing information to support management decisions or influencing the direction of operations.

The Intelligence Cell should be in a position to provide or obtain for the Senior Investigating Officer, intelligence and analytical products, which will assist in the investigation and the understanding of the enquiry at hand.

Five of the most common tasks undertaken by the Intelligence Cell include:

  • Conduct research on related lines of enquiry such as previous police calls to premises or locations; the use of premises or locations; relevant prison releases; custody records for potential suspects;
  • Search of database of offences using similar MO;
  • Identification of associations between people or scenes, or prior knowledge of people/scenes;
  • Searching of significant data bases based upon parameters set by the SIO for example:
    • Police National Computer (Phoenix application) (PNC)
    • Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency
    • CATCHEM (Child Murder and Abduction Database)
    • Police National Database (PND)
  • Liaise with Force Intelligence Units and the intelligence bureaux of other forces and the National Crime Agency (NCA) etc.

Have you got your Intelligence Cell doing the things they should be doing so that the detectives can get out onto the streets to do what they do best?

You can find more information to help your story-telling by following this blog or using your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:

BPCD Cover

Intelligence Units are a standard component of any Police Division, Force or Regional Team.  They also play an essential role in any major investigations such as murder or serial rape.  In such instances, they are usually based within the Major Incident Room.

Major Incident Room Intelligence Cells require suitable accommodation, IT, communications and clerical support and must be staffed with appropriately trained personnel, which may include an Intelligence Manager, an Analyst, Researchers and Field Intelligence Officers.  The exact numbers required will vary from one investigation to the other.  The more complex, the greater the overall investigative team, the more intelligence staff will be employed.

Intelligence Manager

The Intelligence Manager is likely to be an Inspector with experience of running an intelligence cell or unit at any of the three levels of complexity.  It is possible but not recommended that they may also be acting as an Informant Controller.

As the manager, they are responsible for the management and supervision of the cell, its staff and liaising directly with the SIO on intelligence and analytical matters.

Analyst

The analyst can be a police officer but most forces employ civilian analysts.  This has both advantages and disadvantages.  A police officer will be experienced in and familiar with many aspects of policing and the requirements of the law and law enforcement.  However, unlike their civilian counterpart, police officers acting as analysts can be too focussed on fact and evidence.  Civilian analysts are more comfortable formulating hypotheses (or guessing) and do not feel constrained by evidential principles.

The analyst’s primary role is to receive information and to convert it into intelligence through analysis.  Think of finding a few jigsaw pieces and coming up with what the complete picture should look like.  This description can sum up what the analyst should be doing.  However, some are not held in such high regard by some Senior Investigating Officers and some other police officers who merely see the analyst as a person that sits at a computer all day and sometimes draws charts or plots things on maps.  This perception is flawed and narrow-minded.  Watch out for a future post listing some of the functions they do perform.

Researcher

The Intelligence Cell is tasked with lots of research that can be conducted from an office rather than from the field and so the researcher is likely to be a constable or civilian employee with research experience.  They will have excellent IT skills and understanding of databases available to them.  The general idea is that researchers pull together information to be analysed by the Analyst.  They can also be tasked with putting together briefing and intelligence packages and products.

Field Intelligence Officers

Field Intelligence Officers (FIOs) are invariably Police Constable rather than detectives and their primary role is to go out and gather information that the researcher or analyst can’t from the comfort and confinement of their offices.  So the obtaining of financial records or statements from banks may be collected by an FIO where they are not available electronically to the researcher.

So, have you managed to get your fictional intelligence cell right or will you now consider using one in your stories?

You can find more information to help your story-telling by following this blog or using your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:

BPCD Cover

A pathologist may only play a fleeting part in your story or they may well be the main character but if you don’t know enough about how they become one, what their relationship is to a criminal investigation or what they do to assist that investigation, you may well be getting them and your story wrong.

Read on to find what you need to know to get them right in your story.

A pathologist (sometimes referred to as a forensic pathologist) is a medically qualified doctor, registered by the General Medical Council, licensed to practice and educated at post-graduate level in histopathology (the study of the effects of disease on the body) and forensic pathology.

Those suitably qualified apply to be registered with The Home Office Pathology Delivery Board and if successful are designated as “A member of the Home Secretary’s Register of Forensic Pathologists”.

Once registered, they must work within ‘group practices’ comprising at least three forensic pathologists who jointly provide post-mortem services within a defined geographical region. The group practices must provide a forensic post-mortem service 24 hours a day and 365 day a year for their region.   The pathologists don’t work set 9 to 5 hours as the number of cases seen each day varies throughout the country, however the latest protocol agreed with the Home Office limits the working period to 120 hours in any 14 day period.

Many forensic pathologists are self-employed but some are employed, full or part-time in the National Health Service (NHS) or University hospitals.

When the police request a pathologist to attend the scene of a suspicious death, they are ‘briefed’ as to the circumstances of the case by the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) or their representative.   Together with the SIO, crime scene investigators and forensic scientists, they agree a strategy for approaching the body, collecting trace evidence from and around it and ultimately the recovery of the body from the scene.

At the scene, the pathologist will examine the body, noting its disposition, the surroundings in which it lies and the presence of injuries that can be seen without disturbing the body or the scene. Many pathologists also supervise recovery of the body by crime scene investigators and funeral directors.

They carry out the post-mortem in an approved mortuary (usually attached to an NHS hospital).  Their examination is directed towards answering the general and specific questions about the cause of death and providing any other information that may help progress the criminal investigation e.g. where someone clearly dies of a gunshot wound to the head, the contents of the victim’s stomach may help identify the time they last ate and what it was they consumed.  Such information may help narrow down the investigative time parameters and lead to the place where they last ate.

The external examination of the body may take several hours due to its immense significance in a suspicious death post-mortem.   Every organ and body cavity is examined in detail.  Samples of organs and injuries are taken for microscopy and samples of body fluids are retained for toxicology.  Each stage of the examination is documented and photographed.  All significant findings, both positive and negative are recorded. The subsequent report is made available to the SIO, Coroner and defence lawyers.  The pathologist may then have to attend court to give evidence at the trial of the accused.

You can find more information to help your story-telling by following this blog or using your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:

BPCD Cover

All Senior Investigating Officers (SIOs) want to go straight to the scene of a murder and get on with the investigation but real life differs from the fictional world in that they can’t usually do this as they have other important tasks to complete as soon as they possibly can.

One of those essential tasks is the creation of their policy log.  This is a document in which they record their decision-making rational for them to refer to later or to be scrutinised by others such as a review team or the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The first 11 things they need to decide upon and record fall under the title of Investigation Set Up and are:

1. Who they are as the Senior Investigating Officer.
2. Appoint a named Deputy Senior Investigating Officer.
3. An initial summary of the incident under investigation.
4. Whether they will use a manual or HOLMES recording system.
5. Where the Incident Room(s) and or satellites are to be located.
6. The identification and definition of scene(s).
7. What their initial decisions at scene were.
8. Which areas are to be preserved/searched/fingerprinted/photographed.
9. The structure and composition of the Management team.
10. Identification of key posts and post-holders, e.g. Disclosure Officer, MIR positions.
11. Appoint an analyst/researchers.

Have your fictional SIOs been recording their Investigation Set Up policy decisions?

This is only the tip of the Policy Log iceberg.  Follow this blog for more information of other policy decisions that the SIO must record or try to find the answer using your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:

BPCD Cover

I have just come across a fantastic resource I want to share with you.  It is designed and hosted by the University of Leicester in England.  It is free to access and it allows you to act out your fantasy of being a pathologist by examining information regarding a person and you have to determine the cause of their death.  There is also a lot of anatomical and physiological information provided as well so you’ll have little excuse for getting your fictional post-mortem or autopsies wrong.

The site can be found at – Virtual Autopsy

For many more useful links for writers and researchers, don’t forget to check out your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or to buy a copy, click on the image below:

BPCD Cover

You may have read about the 4 Professional Investigation Programme (PIP) levels and what constitutes Volumes and Priority crime along with who should be investigating these crime on my previous posts.  If you missed them, catch up here: 4 PIP Levels You Need to Know About and 16 Crimes That Don’t Need a Detective.

Now I’m going to describe what a Serious Crime is and who is likely to lead such an investigation so that you can get the right character investigating the right type of crime in your stories.

Serious crime falls into PIP Level 2 and is defined in section 93(4) of the Police Act 1997 as:

Conduct which

(a)  involves the use of violence, results in substantial financial gain or is conducted by a large number of persons in pursuit of a common purpose or

(b) the offence or one of the offences is an offence for which a person who has attained the age of twenty-one and has no previous convictions could reasonably be expected to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three years or more.

Schedule 1 to the Serious Crime Act 2007 lists a number of serious offences. Invariably these are offences which:

  • involve the use of violence, including the use of weapons and firearms
  • are sexual assaults
  • result in substantial financial gain
  • cause substantial financial loss to the victim
  • are conducted by a large number of persons in pursuit of a common purpose.

The circumstances of each case will be considered and common sense applied as whether to categorise an incident as PIP level 2 crime.

The following offences may be categorised as serious and complex investigations:

  • arson (intention to endanger life, or reckless action which could endanger life)
  • abduction
  • aggravated burglary dwelling
  • aggravated burglary non-dwelling
  • arson high value or life endangered
  • blackmail
  • drug trafficking
  • death by dangerous driving
  • fraud and associated offences (over 80 hrs investigation time)
  • kidnapping (unless in major investigation category)
  • perverting justice
  • public order (racially motivated)
  • rape
  • robbery (firearms or actual bodily harm injury)
  • child sex offences
  • wounding (sections 18/20).

In most cases, a police constable will not be the sole or lead investigator in serious or complex crimes.  It is generally the role of a Detective Constable to investigate this level of crime, supervised by a Detective Sergeant.  The more complex the crime, the more detectives assigned to the investigation.  More than 5 detectives generally means more Detective Sergeants supervising and two or more Detective Sergeants will probably mean that a Detective Inspector leads the investigative team.

So allocating a Detective Chief Inspector or Detective Superintendent to one of these investigations may be a little bit of overkill.  Watch out for my next post to find out about just what they are likely to get involved in or if you can’t wait, you can always try to find the answers using your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:BPCD Cover

You may have read about the 4 Professional Investigation Programme (PIP) levels and what constitutes Volumes and Priority crime along with who should be investigating these crime and Serious and Complex crimes on my previous posts.  If you missed them, catch up here: 4 PIP Levels You Need to Know About and 16 Crimes That Don’t Need a Detective and Serious and Complex Crimes in Your Stories.

Now I’m going to describe what a Major Crime is and who is likely to lead such an investigation so that you can get the right character investigating the right type of crime in your stories.

Serious and Complex crimes are usually investigated by a Detective Constable.  The more serious or complex they become, the more likely a supervisory officer, such as a Detective Sergeant or a Detective Inspector, may take charge of the investigation.

These categories of crime can escalate to become known as Major Crimes where there are aggravating factors such as one or more of the following:

  • there is a likelihood of escalation into large-scale disorder or a critical incident e.g. activists striving to escalate a peaceful demonstration into a violent confrontation;
  • the original offence has escalated in significance to the community e.g. an assault on a child looking likely to turn into “hunt the paedophile;”
  • sensitivity regarding the individuals involved be they victims or suspects e.g. someone significant in the community;
  • there is increased media interest (especially in the above example);
  • there are aggravating factors in the offence e.g. the victim suffered unnecessary and excessive violence;
  • the victim or witness is particularly vulnerable e.g. the burglary of a very elderly person’s home, which causes them to be hospitalised through the trauma of the event;
  • the crime crosses force or national boundaries e.g. an armed robbery where the car used, was stolen in one force area, the robbery committed in a second force area and the car used dumped in a third force area;
  • the crime forms part of a series of undetected offences (probably) committed by the same offender(s);
  • the crime has been committed by an organised crime gang;
  • there are terrorist links to the crime e.g. the theft of chemicals likely to be used in the manufacture of explosives;
  • the offenders are both forensically and surveillance aware and are exploiting police vulnerabilities or
  • there are multiple offenders e.g. five people involved in one burglary or assault.

 

PIP Level 3 offences categorised as major investigations include:

  • murder
  • attempted murder
  • threat to murder
  • manslaughter
  • infanticide
  • child destruction
  • kidnapping
  • terrorism offences.

At PIP Level 3 a nationally registered Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) will be appointed to lead a major investigation.  They could be a Detective Inspector, Detective Chief Inspector or Detective Superintendent.  The decision who it should be is usually made by the head of crime (Detective Chief Superintendent), or appointed Deputy/Assistant Chief Constable in some forces.

So, if you want your character to be anything other than a Detective Inspector or above, investigating a murder, they had better have a plausible reason for doing so rather than it being left to an accredited SIO.  Unless of course, you have ideas you would like to share.

Watch out for my next post to find out about PIP Level 4 or if you can’t wait, you can always try to find the answers using your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:BPCD Cover

If you caught my last post about PIP levels you may well be wondering what crimes are classed as volume and priority crimes but then again you may not be interested.  However, if you are writing the police into your stories, you better get the right type of cop dealing with the right type of crime.  If you missed my post about the PIP levels click HERE to catch up.

The category of volume and priority crime fall under PIP level 1 and are invariably investigated by a police constable as opposed to a detective constable.  That’s not to say that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) may not get involved.  If they feel that the investigating constable needs mentoring or developmental support, they may provide that.  If there appear to be aggravating circumstance to the crime such as the victim is particularly vulnerable, they may intervene or take over the investigation.

Volume crime is that which is more common place than the more serious crimes.  Despite what comes across on TV and in novels, murder is not an everyday or even monthly occurrence in most areas of the country.  In fact, the average number of murders recorded by the police in England and Wales amounts to no more than around 700 per year.  That is less than two per day across the whole of those two countries.  Crimes such as theft, criminal damage and public order offences are part of the volume crime category.

Priority crimes are those that the individual police forces declare to be of sufficient seriousness to them and their community that action should be taken against them and their perpetrators.

Priority crimes may include robbery, burglary and vehicle-related criminality, but can also apply to criminal damage or assaults.

Offences categorised by the College of Policing as volume and priority investigations include:

  • arson (criminal damage with no threat to life)
  • burglary dwelling
  • burglary non-dwelling
  • cheque/credit card fraud
  • criminal damage
  • drugs possession offences
  • minor Firearms Act offences
  • going equipped for stealing
  • handling stolen goods
  • other fraud
  • public order
  • sexual assault (excluding sexual assault against children)
  • street robbery
  • theft from the person or motor vehicle
  • theft of motor vehicle
  • taking a vehicle without owner’s consent (including aggravated offences).

To find out what types of crime are considered to be “serious or complex” in the PIP Level 2 category, make sure you follow or subscribe to this blog or if you can’t wait, you could always seek out the answer in your very own copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:

BPCD Cover

If you know your PIP levels, you’ll know that you’ve got the correct resource investigating a specific crime type. In other words, you’ll not be allocating a Detective Inspector to go out and investigate the theft of someone’s car or a Police Constable to track down a kidnapper.

But What is PIP?
PIP in British Policing relates to the Professionalising Investigation Programme.

What does it do?
It ensures that staff are trained, skilled and accredited to conduct the highest quality investigations in each PIP level.

The PIP structure involves a series of levels:
PIP level 1 – priority and volume crime investigations
PIP level 2 – serious and complex investigations
PIP level 3 – major investigations
PIP level 4 – strategic management of highly complex investigations.

In simple terms, Level 1 investigators tend to be uniformed Police Constables (PCs).

Level 2 investigations are generally carried out by a Detective Constable (DC) who is part of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Level 3 investigations are usually led by at least a Detective Inspector (DI) who may be attached to CID or a specialist unit such as a Major Crimes Unit.

Level 4 investigations require the leadership of a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) who may be any rank from DI to Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS).

As with most things in life, there are always exceptions.  Have you got the correct investigator involved in your fictional crimes?

If you’re wanting to find out more about Senior Investigating Officers  then pick up your copy of A Writer’s Guide to Senior Police Investigators in the UK at Amazon or by clicking on the image below

A Writer's Guide to Senior Investigating Police Officers in the UK by [Robinson, Kevin N.]

To find out what types of crime fit into which levels, make sure you follow or subscribe to this blog or if you can’t wait, you could always seek out the answer in your very own copy of the updated and expanded British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers 2016, which you can acquire by clicking on the link above or the image below.

BPCD 2016 Cover on Amazon

 

You may have already read of the seven things a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) should have in their “grab bag” but if you missed it, you can catch up with it by clicking HERE or the next 5 things they need to have handy click HERE.

As well as those first twelve items, here are five more that they are told to make sure that they should have in their “grab bag” for when they receive The Call that there has been a murder etc.

  1. Clipboard or similar armed with plenty of writing/drawing implements.
  2. Forensic suit/mask/gloves/overshoes.
  3. Vehicle full of fuel and ignition keys at the ready (or other suitable transport, or driver).
  4. Money/change for emergencies.
  5. The Amazon link to the SIOs’ Handbook in readily accessible place.

Make sure you subscribe to or follow this blog to hear more about SIOs

Or if you can’t wait, you could try to find the answer using the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:BPCD Cover

You may have already read of the seven things a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) should have in their “grab bag” but if you missed it, you can catch up with it by clicking HERE.

As well as those first seven items, here are five more that they are told to make sure that they should have in their “grab bag” for when they receive The Call that there has been a murder etc.

  1. Essential documents such as the makings of a paper management system (which would include such things as list of actions raised, paper actions themselves, and major incident (MI) write-up sheets and message forms).
  2. Freshly prepared food/sandwiches (in the fridge) ready to go.
  3. Drink (e.g. cold drink or thermos flask).
  4. Street map (e.g. A–Z or satellite navigation system).
  5. Outdoor warm and waterproof clothing.

Make sure you subscribe to or follow this blog to hear more about SIOs

Or if you can’t wait, you could try to find the answer using the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:BPCD Cover

Watch any crime drama or read any crime fiction and the chances are that the moment a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) gets the call that there has been a murder, they will be on the scene before you can make a cup of tea.

However, in real life SIOs are told to make sure that they have ready to hand (by the telephone) a fresh ‘daybook’ open at the first page, with a pen ready to record all information, details and decisions immediately right from the initial contact.

They should also have a grab bag prepared and ready for when they receive The Call.

Here are seven things they will have in their “grab bag”:
1. Identification badge and/or ID card (name, rank, and role should be easily recognisable), plus spare ID card for prominent display in the SIO’s own vehicle if it is going to be left at or near a crime scene).
2. A fresh policy book (and spare).
3. Mobile phone and charger (and/or spare battery).
4. List of important contact numbers (e.g. Crime Scene Investigator, pathologist, Family Liaison Officer, etc).
5. Police radio, spare battery and list of channels.
6. Suitable and/or practical clothing (including change of top).
7. Torch/batteries.

Will your lead detective remember to take their seven items and if not, will it add something to your story?

Make sure you subscribe to or follow this blog to hear what other things they should have in their “grab bag.”

Or if you can’t wait, you could try to find the answer using the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers or click on the picture below to buy your copy:BPCD Cover

Ever since the police service in the UK was formed in the 1800, officers have been required to take notes of what they have witnessed, people they have spoken to, incidents they have attended and anything that they may need to recall in the future.  This information has up until very recent times been captured in an officer’s Pocket Note Book or PNB.  There have in this century been attempts to do away with such recording methods but requests by courts to have such information submitted in criminal cases has confirmed the belief that the practice must continue.

Once upon a time, any old piece of paper would have done the job but this changed with the need for transparency and truthfulness. Officers were issued with an official pocket note book, complete with a serial number and page numbers.  The books were checked by supervisory officers to ensure that they were up to date, being completed accurately and according to the force policies.  The notes had to be made in black ink and were primarily used to record information that may one day be required in a court case.

The TV image of the detective standing in the corner of the room taking notes as their hero detective colleague asked the suspects and witnesses questions was far removed from reality.  It was accepted practice that so long as the notes were made up as soon as practical after the event, they were admissible in court.

Serial numbers were added to the PNBs to prevent unscrupulous officers from possessing two books simultaneously. The pages were numbered to prevent the removal or addition of pages containing significant information.

Things have been moving forward in recent years with the call to keep “bobbies” on the beat for longer, forces have been trying to find a way of facilitating this with technology.  Some forces around the country have issued operational officers with electronic devices to take on patrol with them so they can complete forms and submit them electronically without the need to go back to the station to file the reports.

West Yorkshire Police have now issued their police officer with Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphones to assist with keeping them on the streets and visible for longer.

According to West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Andy Battle:

“The device includes an e-notebook which will enable us to record information and make intelligence submissions via secure mobile police apps.

“Officers will be able to enter electronic witness statements and complete missing person forms without having to put pen to paper back at base. Similarly, the device will allow users to view and update incidents whilst on the beat, increasing our visibility, responsiveness and presence on the streets,” he said.

So, will your police officers be using old-fashioned pocket note books or smartphones at their crime scenes?

For more details about this subject click Computing News Article

Don’t forget that you can obtain your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers by clicking on the picture below:BPCD Cover

There aren’t many opportunities for writers around like this, especially free of charge.

For as little as up to four-hours work per week over a six-week period, taken at your own pace, you could discover just what it is like to IDENTIFY the DEAD.

Starting 7th September 2015, anyone, anywhere in the world can sign up for University of Dundee logothis on-line course delivered by the University of Dundee via the Future Learn Project.

The Forensic Science and Human Identification course run by Helen Meadows will allow you to uncover a grave, examine the remains and reveal the identity of the victim.  You will be taken on a journey through the world of forensic anthropology, unveiling the tools that will allow you to discover the identity of the remains.

The University blurb reads:

In the shadow of Dundee’s Law Hill, a grim discovery demands the attention of forensic experts. Unidentified human remains have been found and the police need to identify the victim to move forward with their investigation.

After a meticulous recovery of the remains, it will be your job to:

  • document and attempt to explain any evidence of trauma;
  • identify the victim through biological profiling;
  • and undertake a facial reconstruction.

Experts from the University of Dundee’s award-winning Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHId) will guide you through the process of human identification.

They will introduce you to the fields of human identification; forensic anthropology and archaeology; craniofacial identification; and the study of the human body.

Evaluate evidence as the case unfolds

Week-by-week, the case will unfold, providing you with more information about the victim. You will be presented with theoretical material and hands-on learning opportunities, to evaluate the case information and use what you have learned, to piece together clues to the victim’s identity.

You will be able to discuss, with educators and others learners, your thoughts on the identity of the deceased, based on your evaluation of the evidence.

Get your own copy of the murder mystery

After you submit your evaluation of the victim’s identity, all will be revealed at the end of the final week. You can continue your journey into the life and death of our victim in your very own e-book copy of a specially written murder mystery by international best-selling crime novelist Val McDermid.

Bear in mind that although this course involves the investigation of the death of a fictional character, some of the content may be distressing to individuals, particularly younger learners. However, this material is representative of that encountered by forensic experts.

To join the course just follow this link: Identifying the dead.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t already got your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers by clicking on the picture below:BPCD Cover

 

 

 

1. No matter how soon your detective gets to the scene of the crime, they are not going to stand around and guard it. Even before they arrive, they’ll want to know that there is some uniform presence present to protect the scene, come hail or shine. If there isn’t, they’ll create such a stink and drop so many names until it’s done.

2. Most uniformed Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers tasked with guarding a crime scene will mentally urge the detectives on so that they will release and close down the scene as quickly as possible so that they can get out of the cold, dark and rain.

3. Many uniformed officers are unable to keep their hands in their pockets at a crime scene and seem compelled to touch or move something. It always comes to light and most hope they will never have to own up to it until their DNA, fingerprints or footprints are found where they shouldn’t be. Let your Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) rip into them.

4. Maybe as a consequence of the above observation, many SIOs do not trust uniformed officers and treat them as incompetent until proved otherwise. Is this a recipe for a full-blown out argument in front of the gawping media?

5. It’s not only detectives that want to or do investigate crime. Many uniformed officers are just as keen and competent enough to investigate but they don’t want to join CID and take on board their cultural expectations.  Many Police Officers are able to spend as much as they earn if not more and so can make themselves vulnerable to financial difficulty and consequently corruption.

If you want to find any of the over 200 essential procedures or policy documents check them out using the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers by clicking on the picture below:BPCD Cover