Flashcards in Homicide and Serious Crime Investigation Deck (14)
Family Liaison Plan
The plan should be recorded and consider:
• selection of the FLO and criteria employed for the selection
• exit plan for the FLO
• objectives of the family liaison
• information to be released to and withheld from, the family
• assessing the most appropriate methods of conducting interviews with family members
• creating a victim profile
• Victim support liaison
• Requests/complaints made by family
Role and function of the Family Liaison Officer (FLO)
- The day-to-day management of the partnership between the family of the deceased and the Police investigation.
- Must also offer, facilitate and co-ordinate support that addresses the needs of the family.
- The primary function of an FLO is that of an investigator and not a support person.
Victim - Identify and locate victim
Appreciation - Make an initial appreciation of the incident. Assess personal risk and then preserve the lives of others
Witnesses - Locate and contain witnesses
Scene - Preserve the scene (e.g. set boundaries)
Exhibits - Note evidence and preserve any that would otherwise be lost or destroyed
Ingredients - Consider whether the ingredients of the alleged offence have been established
Powers - Identify what powers are available and consider whether to execute them
Offenders - Identify and apprehend suspect(s)
Initial action to preserve scene
Steps in Preserve
• Preserve what is there and leave it 'in situ'. Ensure nothing is touched or moved. The scene must be kept in its original state.
• Be prepared to take immediate action to preserve and/or record evidence that may change if nothing is done. For example, rain may damage a footprint or bloodstain.
• Consider the best path into the scene.
• If no immediate life is at risk, consider using stepping plates.
• Record any movements/action taken in the scene
Initial action to control scene
Steps in control
- Remove everyone from scene, make sure they don't take anything or contaminate the scene
- Separate and warn them not to discuss what has happened
- Keep rivals apart
- Obtain details and conduct prelim interviews
- Find out who has left
Procedures for suspects at the scene
Steps to follow
- Separate suspects from other persons at the scene.
- Consider the condition of the suspect, whether they are injured, under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or suffer from a medical or mental impairment or other special consideration.
- Ask them to remain at the scene and to co-operate with police. As soon as possible, remove the suspect from the scene by consent or with lawful justification.
- If the suspect refuses to co-operate, consider whether grounds exist to arrest them and what the most appropriate offence will be.
Caution and Search
- Use appropriate caution where required
- Consider searching the suspect and the suspect's vehicle and belongings to prevent the disposal of evidence and for the searcher's safety, pursuant to the Search and Surveillance Act 2012.
- Consider searching the vicinity of the suspect and the area or route they are thought to have taken, in order to recover discarded or secreted evidence.
- Note the suspect's appearance and behaviour.
- Record everything the suspect says and if appropriate, consider conducting a preliminary interview
- Whenever possible, interviewing of suspects should be recorded on video
- To prevent cross contamination issues, consider using officers who have not entered the scene to manage the suspect, if available.
- Brief the OC Investigation on their arrival, highlighting any significant risks surrounding cross-contamination or movement within or near the scene.
Alive but injured
What to do on arrival at hospital
- Obtain a medical opinion as to the victim's current medical condition.
- Establish the victim's identity.
- Note and photograph any injuries.
- Seize the victims clothing and other possessions as evidence.
- Seize any discarded bandages used to cover gunshot wounds, and record the position on the victim where each bandage had been applied.
- Arrange firearms residue samples in cases where firearm use is suspected, including from the victim of any apparent suicide involving a firearm.
- Arrange DNA swabs to be taken from the victim's skin, where they would be relevant to the particular circumstances of the case.
- Obtain a pre-transfusion blood sample using Police Toxicology Kit containers
- Obtain details of any and all persons who visit or contact the victim.
- Conduct a scoping interview with the victim where this would not adversely affect the medical welfare of the victim. Consider recording immediate statement if they may die
- Conduct a preliminary interview with ambulance and emergency staff who treated the victim
Shows no signs of life
What to do when you discover a body
- Consider calling an ambulance and resuscitation, if appropriate. If the victim has to be moved for this purpose, note the original body position and record any previous movements.
- Arrange a doctor to pronounce life extinct, unless death is obvious i.e. a decapitated or badly decomposed body.
- Remain with the body until relieved by CIB or a supervisor
- Treat the 'victim' as a scene (do not move the body unnecessarily).
- Instruct medical staff to leave clothes on the body
- Request that connecting medical items including tubes, needles, bandages are left 'in situ'
- If possible, conduct scoping interviews with medical staff who treated the victim and establish their actions, apparent cause of death and injury type(s).
- Ascertain if the victim spoke to anyone before death and record what was said.
- Sketch a plan including the position of the body and position of exhibits.
- Record body position, lividity (gravitational settling of the blood), obvious injuries and clothing.
- Record all exhibits.
- Objectively record everything observed using all senses, including sight, sound and smell
- Provide full information to the OC Investigation, at an early stage.
Responsibilities to Witnesses
Ensure that witnesses do not:
Ensuring Court Attendance
Ensure witnesses are fully briefed for court
Manage witness intimidation
• have any contact or communication with jurors
• discuss the case in public areas while waiting to give evidence
• discuss the case with witnesses waiting after they have given evidence.
OC Body Responsibilities
- Ensure death has been certified by a doctor or qualified paramedic
- Note details of medical staff or others who have attended the victim
- Secure and guard the body, and body samples and any exhibits related to the body with dignity and respect
- Note and record observations relating to the body
- Establish if body has been moved or disturbed
- Record what actions have been taken by any party in relation to the body
- Ensure body is photographed in situ and consider video recording
- On authority of OC investigation arrange transport of body to mortuary
- Maintain security and continuity of the body, samples and exhibits from the scene to the start of the post mortem
- Complete sudden death procedures
- On authority of OC investigation arrange for formal identification
- Obtain historical medical records of the victim for the pathologist
- Attend with the OC
- Attend briefing of pathologist
- Ensure police photographer takes photos at all stages of post-mortem, they will be directed by pathologist
- Arrange for fingerprints and palm prints as required
- Preserve evidence from body
- Record, label and secure all samples and exhibits
- Attend debrief of pathologist and record findings, on direction of OC or pathologist
- Ensure cultural responsibilities have been addressed
Stripping the Body
- Remove body from fridge and assist mortuary staff to move to post mortem room
- Remove from body bag, causing minimal disturbance
- Take body bag, sheets and wrappings as exhibits
- The body must only be stripped in presence of pathologist
- Police photographer to take photos before and after clothing removed
- Remove clothing, trying to avoid cutting clothes and search pockets.
- Consider placing a fine sieve in the mortuary table drain hole to collect trace evidence
- Package and seal each item in a different bag or container
- Label each item of clothing and each possession
- Avoid cross contamination by ensuring exhibits do not come into contact with each other
- Make inventory of clothing and possessions as it is removed
- Maintain security and continuity of the body and exhibits
Stripping of the body will take place immediately before the post-mortem examination commences, but must only be undertaken on the specific direction of the OC Investigation, generally after a visual examination and collection of evidence from the clothed body has been completed.
• manage the electronic and physical files relating to the investigation
• read all documents and highlight important information
• complete a synopsis of all documents received, excluding documents relating to covert policing activities
• identify and record evidential material
• assist with the preparation of the prosecution file
• assist with management of the trial.
Setting up the Investigation Headquarters
The File Manager, where there is no logistics officer appointed, must liaise closely with the 2IC to establish the requirements for the Investigation Headquarters, including:
• office support staff
• ICT requirements.