Posts Tagged ‘Investigation’

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

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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

Many of us in the UK have resorted to buying and fitting an electronic navigation aid in preference to thumbing our way through creased, grubby maps and gazetteers.

Whilst there are many advantages to using a Sat Nav, how many of us have got lost when relying on them or ended up going a longer way around a town than needed.

You either love them or hate them but when it comes to fiction, where do you stand?

Have you incorporated them into a story yet and if not why not?  I know they don’t sound the most glamorous of items but when you have digested the following, you may just change your mind.

In August 2011, a Lithuanian born Vitalija Baliutaviciene was reported missing by her young son when she failed to return home at the end of the day.  She had previously been threatened and assaulted by her ex-husband who had followed her to Cambridgeshire in the UK following their divorce.

Thankfully the local police took her disappearance seriously and began a detailed investigation, which led them fairly quickly to suspect her ex-husband, Rimas Venclovas.  It appeared from analysis of CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) footage that he had attacked and abducted his ex-wife in the UK on her way to work.  He had bundled her into his van and within 58 minutes had killed her before driving off.  Her body could not be found anywhere near the site of attack or abduction.

To see video footage of the abduction click here

By virtue of the fact that both people were Lithuanian, this became an international investigation, especially as Venclovas couldn’t be located at first. 

Following painstaking mobile telephony enquiries Venclovas was arrested in Lithuania for the murder and Kidnap of Vitalija but her body was nowhere to be found.  His van, which was recovered revealed no clues, nor were any found at his home address.  However, amongst property seized from him was the Sat Nav from the van he had been seen driving in the UK.

This is the first known case where a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) has exploited the data of a Sat Nav to the extent seen in this case. Despite being told by the manufacturers that only limited data could be extracted from the Sat Nav, he continued to seek further information from the equipment, finally succeeding in recovering its ‘inner files’.

These were analysed and they revealed that Venclovas had travelled from Lithuania to the UK and back around the time of the disappearance of Vitalija.

It was considered possible, using the data from the Sat Nav that her body could have been dumped anywhere along the route, he had travelled across 6 European countries after leaving the UK.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary Creating a safer CambridgeshireThe Cambridgeshire Constabulary detectives (part of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit) identified from analysis of the Sat Nav that Venclovas had stopped at various points along the route back to Lithuania.  They asked Interpol to circulate the co-ordinates of these stops to the police in the respective countries.

The police in Poland responded, reporting the discovery of a female body, buried in a shallow grave in the region of Lutol Suchy, Poland, within 50 metres of one of the sets of coordinates.  The body was identified through DNA as Vitalija Baliutaviciene (the ex-wife of Venclovas).

After a 7 week trial at The Old Bailey, a jury unanimously convicted Venclovas of Vitalija’s murder and kidnap. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

Watch the BBC Crimewatch programme about the case here

So, as you can see, the outcome of the thorough analysis of the Sat Nav was a fully mapped journey of a kidnap and homicide, the recovery of a body and most importantly, a conviction for murder. 

Would this example help you develop your story or could your killer find a way to thwart the investigation (other than not using a Sat Nav in the first place)?

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