22 May 2013

Focus on...Crime Scene Investigation - 'the highs and lows'

Phill Pemble - CSI

Hi all,

So a typical day… not sure there’s such a thing for a CSI but here goes;
(I’ve removed all references to date, time and location in case any investigations are on-going and to prevent victims from being identified)

I literally got through the door of the office as a Detective Sergeant (DS) came in to let me know of a sudden, unexplained death.

Someone had stopped breathing, paramedics were in attendance and although they made every effort to resuscitate, they had not been successful. As we had details on the individual and knew some of their history, there were some concerns as to the cause of death. I rushed down to the scene along with the local DS and DI (Detective Inspector) and started the examination. During this time other officers began their neighbourhood and family enquiries. 

As always, the first thing I did was photograph the scene before taking a closer look at the body. This obviously isn’t a nice part of my job but it has to be done. If it was a relative of mine I would want to know that the police had done everything they could to determine what had happened. In this case I did not find any suspicious circumstances, so I passed the investigation over to the local coroner. We located some drug taking paraphernalia at the scene which officers seized so they could find out who had used it and what drugs were involved.

Shortly afterwards, I moved onto a shed break-in. With incidents like this I speak to the victims first to establish the circumstances. They were able to show me how they believed the offender did not activate their security light. I took the evidence back to the lab for analysis and spoke to the victims again about extra home security measures they could put in place to help them feel safer and reduce the risk of being targeted again. Any hits from my evidence is fed back to the officer investigating the crime and, if appropriate, shown to the Crown Prosecution Service to help put offenders before the courts.

Another job came in, this time a very difficult one. We received a report of an alleged rape. I know the effect that this type of crime can have on victims having spoken to many over the years so I pay extra attention to even the smallest detail, sometimes it’s all that’s needed to secure a conviction. 

Officers on patrol quickly arrived at the home of the person who made the report to obtain a statement and I sealed off the area where it was reported to have happened and began searching. With reports like this I could be looking for a range of things, so the available light is a huge issue. It was getting dark quickly so I made the decision to leave and return again in the morning.  

Before I leave you for today, I would like to mention crime scenes and the taped off areas you may come across from time to time. 

Please don’t be alarmed when you see this. Even if a CSI is not there, you will see a police car or officer patrolling just to make sure no one tampers with the scene. I will seal off areas
for a range of offences from drug taking to assaults; some may stay up longer because of diminishing light, workloads, dense areas and so on.

They may look alarming but it is critical we make sure any evidence is located so our officers have the best possible
opportunity to bring an offender to justice.

Thanks for reading.  Tomorrow’s blog – ‘you have to detach yourself from the reality’