Posts Tagged ‘Writer’

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

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

Police officers are not super beings.  They are much the same as the people they serve and protect. It would not be unusual for a police officer to be affected by some of the things they deal with, yet rarely are fictional detectives bothered by the things they come across.

However, in real life, senior investigators have a duty to consider their own welfare and that of their staff.  It is widely accepted that people react differently to traumatic situations or incidents on emotional and behavioural levels, which is why it is important to watch out for signs that someone may be suffering adverse effects when dealing with unpleasant incidents.

Some of the indicators may include any, all or several of the following:

  1. having trembling or shaking hands or limbs
  2. experiencing an increased breathing rate or a racing heartbeat
  3. having difficulty concentrating
  4. being tearful
  5. being anxious
  6. being agitated
  7. seeming over alert
  8. being over talkative or becoming mute
  9. having feelings of guilt, self-blame or anger at self and others
  10. feeling emotionally detached, emotionally blunt or numb.

It is important that if any of these signs are evident, welfare needs are identified as soon as possible and support is made available to reduce potential long-term damage being suffered by the individual.

That immediate support can include

  • responding to them as an individual, in a calm, sensitive manner
  • taking the person to a quiet, private location
  • acknowledging the person’s thoughts and feelings about the event and timescales, no matter how bizarre they may seem
  • allowing them to express their distress openly
  • allowing them to talk without attempting to pacify them or change the subject
  • normalising the person’s experience by reinforcing common-sense reactions
  • encouraging them to be with and speak to colleagues.

Other longer term practical options may include:

  • ensuring that individuals take a longer break before continuing their duties
  • temporarily moving them to another role and allowing them to speak to a colleague who has experienced a similar event
  • allowing them to take time off and/or seeking support from other sources and agencies
  • referring the individual to occupational health services.

Many of these problems can either be eliminated or minimized through conducting specific risk assessments to help police officers and staff to prepare for encountering disturbing images or situations.

Will any of your fictional characters suffer any of the above symptoms and will they get the support they need?

For more ideas of how to progress your police characters and their actions, examine 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

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 are many shows on TV that purport to reflect a day in the life of a crime lab but follow the link below and read what it’s like in West Yorkshire, UK.  It will give you a better idea for your stories of just what they deal with, how often and how long it will take. remember to go through the Gallery to view some very good images.

Real-Life CSI

Don’t forget, there are links to forensic issues and much more in 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

What’s your biggest frustration about researching for your crime fiction?

Do you have a specific question? Are you unable to find the answer?  Do you not know where to look for the answer?  Do you think you know the answer but aren’t too sure and don’t know how to confirm your thoughts?

If you don’t want to comment on this blog, drop me a private note to the.writer@hotmail.co.uk

As you’ll have read in the earlier post, police officers are not allowed to join a trade union.  Police support staff are but not officers.

Whilst there is no trade union affiliated with the police, there are three bodies who look after their interests as well as having other significant roles.  They tend to refer to themselves as “staff associations.”   You may have read the previous post regarding the Police Federation.  If you missed it, just click HERE.

Police constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors can, if they wish, join the Police Federation, which would leave the ranks higher up, unrepresented but for the fact that the next of the “Big 3” is the Superintendents’ Association.

Whilst the Police Act of 1919 established the Police Federation, superintendents and chief superintendents were not allowed to join and didn’t have their own association until 1952

The Association’s vision is to support and represent its members’ welfare and interests, while being an influential voice in policing for the public good.

Its mission is:

  • To negotiate the best possible conditions of service for members.
  • To provide support and advice to members regarding health and welfare or those ‘at risk’ in relation to conduct issues.
  • To help lead and develop the police service to improve standards of policing.
  • To actively contribute to helping to shape future policing policy and practice at the national and strategic levels.

In your stories, the Superintendents’ Association could be sought out by a (superintendent or chief superintendent) Senior Investigating Officer who is in need of support due for example to their excessive workload or claims against them of bullying etc.

For more information about the Superintendents Association click HERE or you can view a copy of their blog HERE

If you want to make sure you don’t miss hearing about the last of the Big 3, don’t forget to follow this blog or if you can’t wait, you could always check them out in the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers by clicking on the picture below:BPCD Cover

Police officers are not allowed to join a trade union.  Police support staff are but not officers, which is one of the reasons often cited as why they deserve better pay and conditions – because of this restriction on their lifestyle.

Whilst there is no trade union affiliated with the police, there are three bodies who look after their interests as well as having other significant roles.  They tend to refer to themselves as “staff associations.”

Police constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors can, if they wish, join the Police Federation.

The Police Federation was established in 1919 after the Police Union, which was affiliated to the Labour Party and Trade Union Congress (TUC), called for police officers to strike to show their opposition to the forthcoming Police Act.  The strike call generally failed and all of those officers who took part in the strike were sacked.

The aims of the federation are to –

  • Represent and promote the interests and welfare of its members and to support colleagues to achieve the required professional standards.
  • Influence internal and external decision makers at local and national levels on matters affecting its members and the police service.
  • Maintain and improve the conditions of service and pay of its members.

In your stories, the Police Federation representative (who is a police officer of the same rank as the officer they are representing) could be present when the officer is being interviewed about a disciplinary matter.  At such a time, the representative can be referred to as “a friend” to the interviewed officer.  You could also have a Federation representative challenging a Senior Investigating Officer who is thought to be abusing their staffs’ conditions of work e.g. expecting them to work overtime for free or for time off in lieu, rather than for payment.

For more information about the Police Federation click HERE or you can view a copy of their monthly magazine HERE

If you want to make sure you don’t miss hearing about the remainder of the Big 3, don’t forget to follow this blog or if you can’t wait, you could always check them out in the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers by clicking on the picture below:BPCD Cover

Have you ever thought about one or more of your fictional police officers being attacked by a savage dog?

 

It could happen quite innocently following a report of a stray dog being seen in the street/park/shopping centre and when the officer tries to entice the dog, he/she is attacked because unbeknown to them, the dog is frightened by the colour of the officer’s uniform.  My dog barks at anyone standing still, wearing dark hooded clothing.

Alternatively, the incident could arise following the search of a house after the door is seen ajar by a neighbour worried about the well-being of the elderly occupant.  Has the dog eaten some or all of the deceased occupant or is it protecting its’ owner who lay on the floor injured or ill?

Or, even worse, the dog could be set upon the officer by a suspected criminal who is attempting to avoid arrest. Maybe during a search of premises used as a cannabis factory, the suspect decides it is better not to be caught in the building and uses the dog as a means of distracting the searching officers whilst they escape.

However, having got the officer attacked or bitten, how are they going to escape the dog’s jaws?

The dog could just desist and walk away happy or the officer could use his/her baton to beat it. CS or Pepper Spray wouldn’t work on the dog as they don’t think like humans.  Dry ice fired from a fire extinguisher may be enough to startle the dog, allowing the opportunity for escape.

It may be such an extreme case such as the one reported in the following link that the dog had to be tasered before stabbing or shooting it.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-officer-stabs-dog-to-death-during-drugs-raid-in-lewisham-london-9891519.html

The choices are all yours to make.

Don’t forget to get your copy of the best directory of its kind, in the world by clicking on the cover photo below –

BPCD Cover

 

 

I was. I’m talking about your manuscript, literary toil, sweat and stress stained document.  I guess a few of you out there are like me, resisting for your own reasons, going down the traditional publishing route. I knew really that it wasn’t the way for me to go. I knew that the demand for my book the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers would be insufficient for a traditional publisher to take me on and I knew that a physical copy of the book wasn’t the best medium for the reader to get the most useful experience out of it.

My only real option was to go digital or electronic and publish it as an e-book but wasn’t sure that I could do it myself.  One option was to pay someone to do it on my behalf but that didn’t feel right.  If I was going to self-publish, I may as well figure out how to do it myself.

I decided to give Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing a go. It seemed a bit daunting to me and if the thought of going digital has seemed just as overwhelming to you, my advice is just go for it.

If you feel out of your depth, take heart, there is help out there. Check out Sally Jenkins’ book Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners: A guide to publishing Kindle e-books for beginnersKDP for Absolute Beginners

I know there are free books out there that you can download and you could always work your way through the KDP help pages but save yourself the time and energy.

Why choose Sally’s book over the others? I’m not suggesting that you do but consider these facts:

  • Sally is based in the UK so adds the British perspective rather than the US.
  • She has a proven writing track record (see below).
  • She has self-published using Amazon’s KDP so knows how to get the best out of it.
  • Whilst Amazon shows it as a 2014 edition, it has in fact been updated this year to reflect changes both in KDP and publishing rules in the UK.
  • Sally is a frequent supporter of other writers via various forums and produces articles for Writing Magazine

With 5* reviews like these why would you not want to give it a try:

  • This short book takes the wannabe-published author by the hand and gently, very gently, breaks down each stage into understandable and manageable ‘bytes’.  And it is a gentle journey. You will be coaxed by Sally’s calm tone and reassured by her own experiences. Her message is clear, if you can write a book, you can e-publish it!
  •  The field of e-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is full of tall grasses and hedges, but Sally’s straightforward advice offered a tidy path for my first foray into becoming an online author! Easy-to-read, this guide is clearly written by a writer who has experience with the format, and can either be read as a standalone account or dipped into as you’re on the Amazon website.  Yes, Amazon offers guides to help you upload your book, but Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners gives you the confidence to stop dreaming and finally become an on-line author.
  • What a smashing book this is!  It gave me all the info I needed about publishing a book on kindle, plus all the extra stuff I never thought of, such as the importance of a book cover, choosing KDP key words how to get your book reviewed.  The author takes the reader through the process, step by step. It’s easy to follow and I’ve learnt such a lot.  It’s inspired me to get cracking with my own kindle book. This book is a really fantastic buy – no prospective self- published author should be without it!

Other books written by Sally Jenkins include:

A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success 2013 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00C0GBRS6

Old Friends – 13 Coffee Break Stories 2013 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BJIKIBI

One Day for Me – 8 Coffee Break Stories 2014 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B4XCYJC

Walk the Cleveland Way: Accommodation, Attractions and Advice  2014 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00PWGVA1A

The Museum of Fractured Lives Omnibus 2014 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00L2X8O66

Visit Sally’s Blog at https://sallyjenkins.wordpress.com/

If you want to see my attempt at self publishing via Amazon KDP, click on the cover below:

BPCD Cover

 

 

Not in the UK they don’t.

What am I writing about? Terminology and phraseology.

When a suspect is being arrested in the UK, phrases such as “book him,” “read him his rights” and “Miranda him” are not used.  When being arrested, a suspect in the UK is told they are being arrested and Cautioned.  They can also be cautioned at the time that questions are being asked about their suspected involvement in a crime but before being arrested also before an official police interview after being arrested and having been taken to a police station.

The wording of the Caution goes like this:

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you rely on in court. Anything you do say can be given in evidence.”

The police don’t have to use these exact words but they must tell the suspect all the information in it and if the suspect doesn’t understand what has been said the police should explain what is meant.

“You’re nicked” on its own is insufficient as there is no warning of the consequences of making a verbal comment at the time of arrest and as such any damming statement made by the suspect becomes inadmissible in court.

This means that if after being told he was nicked, the suspect replied “its a fair cop, I did it” but there was no corroborating evidence to support this admission, the statement couldn’t be used against him as he hadn’t been told before hand that that statement could be used against him.

There is no requirement for a suspect to say anything at all to the police upon being Cautioned. It is perfectly legal for them to just look into space or use that famous phrase: ‘No comment.’

However if they say nothing but later in court offer an answer to the question, the court may hold it against them and wonder why such an explanation wasn’t offered in the first place.  The court can draw an “adverse inference” from the original silence or refusal to answer the questions asked by the police.

For example if after being arrested for an assault and upon being cautioned,  the suspect remains silent but at court they claim that they acted in self-defence, the court is well within its rights to ask why this defence wasn’t offered in the first place and thereby believe such a claim to be false.

 So will you read your suspect their rights or Caution them?

Don’t forget to get your copy of the best directory of its kind, in the world by clicking on the cover photo below –

BPCD Cover

It’s hard enough to kill someone (this isn’t personal experience) but even harder is disposing of the body in such a way that it’s never found.

Some have tried dumping bodies in water and found to their misfortune that the deceased came back to expose them.  Maybe you could use something similar to the following in one of your stories.

A corpse properly and lawfully buried at sea is unlikely to reappear but many criminals are unable to permanently dispose of a body in water. Take for example when a freshly caught shark vomitedImage result for shark attack up a surgically separated human arm, leading to a murder investigation. That victim was determined to be James Smith.

Some criminals throw bodies in a river, hoping that they’ll be carried away. Fortunately, this method usually leads to a quick detection of the body because they get entangled at the side of the river or stopped at a dam or they are seen floating by others.

A disposal in large lakes or oceans is more likely to hide the body. However, decomposing gases trapped beneath the skin can create a strong positive buoyancy bringing the body up to the surface or end up washed up on the shore. Bodies have also been discovered in the nets or lines of fishermen and occasionally, bodies are also discovered by divers.

Very cold water with little oxygen may even preserve bodies, allowing for an easier identification, as in the case of Margaret Hogg, the Wasdale Lady in the Lake. She was found after 8 years, with her body preserved like wax.

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Many fictional crime stories I have read tend to paint the police as competent, up against a suspect who is clever at the outset but is finally caught and brought to justice.

The reasons for the time delay between the commission of the crime and apprehension allows for the fictional story to be spread across hundreds of pages and introduce many characters and pieces of information to aid the reader in their decision-making as to who did it.

In real life, the time between the commission of the offence and apprehension usually occurs through the vast amount of information that has to be gathered and sifted before a suspect is identified, unless the suspect is know from the outset but this would make for a relatively short work of fiction.

However, there are times in real life when the delay in catching the suspect is created by the incompetence (in a very few cases) of the police or the cleverness of the suspect to manipulate the crime scene to such an extent that they manage to hide or disguise many of the clues that should have been found fairly quickly.

Take for instance a recently reported upon crime involving the death of an elderly lady, Una Crown in her own home in Wisbech, Cambridgshire.

Though one won’t find crime tape around an archaeological site, these two disciplines have many similarities (“Crime-scene-tape”).In a nut-shell, the first attending officers decided from what they could gather from the crime scene, that the victim had died accidently.  They concluded that she had fallen onto her cooker and in a panic suffered a heart attack and died.  This assumption, with hindsight, was a bit too quick to come to but when faced with a body that is either very badly burned (as in this case) or decomposed, it can be difficult to see conflicting evidence on the body such as stab wounds or bruising.  Even if they have been seen, the officers may think that they have been self-inflicted, especially when they have been presented with information suggesting suicidal tendencies on the part of the victim (not in the case of Una Crown).

This is why there will be a post-mortem in all instances where the death is unexpected and/or of a violent nature.  In the case in question, not only was the body badly burned (i.e. violent in nature) but it was also unexpected in that she wasn’t being treated for an imminently terminal illness.

It was at the post-mortem that stab wounds were found to the victim’s neck and chest, leading to the death being considered particularly suspicious. Had this been spotted from the outset, the scene should have been treated as a crime/murder scene.  A lot of evidence would have been gathered from the house and a great deal of information would have been uncovered about the victim and in all probability, the suspect.  As it was, the officers who first attended the house saw nothing they thought suspicious and so didn’t treat the scene accordingly.

This may smack of incompetence on their part but to give such an error credibility in your stories, you could consider any or all of the following:

  • The officers that attended the scene first were inexperienced, new to the job and failed to recognise the gravity of what they were confronted with.
  • The officers may have been more experienced but generally incompetent, especially when it came to crime investigation.
  • The officers could have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • The officers could have become blasé because they had attended several natural sudden deaths recently and saw this as just another.
  • They may have attended a sudden death in the past, called out the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) only to be rebuked and ridiculed by the SIO for not seeing the obvious signs of a natural death or a clear case of suicide.

To give the suspect more credibility, it could have been a deliberate act by them to stage the crime scene: to make it look like one incident rather than what it actually was.  It’s not unusual for a husband to make his killing of his wife look like a bungled burglary by smashing a window to the property before giving it a ransacked appearance.  Their intention being to make the police think that the wife had disturbed the burglar in the act and had been killed by that burglar so as to prevent their subsequent identification.

It has been known for suspects to stage a murder to look like a suicide or an accident, similar to this case.  An elderly person could be expected to have a heart attack late in life or even a fall due to being unsteady on their feet.  They may just be unfortunate enough to fall onto their gas or electric fire and the burn injuries may well cover up strangulation or heavy blows to the head or body.

Would you rather go for the incompetent cop or the clever murderer in your stories?

For more information about the case in question follow:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3019745/Coroner-slams-bungling-police-destroyed-vital-evidence-murder-scene-treated-death-pensioner-throat-slit-body-set-fire-ACCIDENT.html

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Good Cop, Bad Cop
you’re probably used to seeing them conducting interviews or in the US, Image result for british police officerinterrogations. They tend to be colleagues with a working relationship, usually to get the suspect to confess. However, there is another scenario where you could feature a “good cop, bad cop” relationship.

Looking at the following articles it would be easy to believe that your bad cop could be the chief of police, whilst the good cop could be the one trying to bring the chief down and to justice.

How else would you consider using this clichéd relationship?

Bad Cop
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3014963/Police-chiefs-claim-expenses-spend-extra-marital-affairs-guilty-predatory-sexual-conduct-juniors.html

Good Cop
http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Knifeman-floored-police-Taser-dramatic-CCTV/story-26242867-detail/story.html

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Before submitting the obvious anatomical answer, I really want to see if there are any writers out there who exercise at their desk whilst writing and if so, what do they do? I ask because I have just seen a newspaper article showing a woman walking on a treadmill adjacent to her raised desk, which she uses to get her daily exercise whilst still working at her PC.

LifeSpan TR5000-DT5 Commercial Workplace Treadmill Desk

I am aware of some writers who have used exercise balls to sit on. Is there a majority consensus – ball or treadmill/exercise bike?

Me? I just have a boring old chair and occasionally shuffle my feet once my legs go numb.

For more information on the article, follow this link –

Daily Mail – The-treadmill-desk-allows-exercise-believe-claims-make-MORE-productive

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