301FIS may have upon an investigation.” Introduction: It’s


Contemporary Issues in Forensic Investigation


”Major investigations may contain many
complexes but crucial investigative aspects and issues. Critically analyse some
of these differing facets and the impact they may have upon an investigation.”




It’s fundamentally essential for any investigator
to understand the importance of a wide range of processes that are present in a
major investigation. The Senior Investigating Officer plays a fundamental role
in an investigation leading and directing all aspects of the investigation
making strategic decisions with regards to the direction of enquiries. In
addition, these decisions may be based and influenced by ethical issues that
may arise ultimately directing the investigators’ understanding and ultimately
affecting the decisions made regarding the case. There are many areas of
complexity that can impact and influence a major police investigation.
Evidently, SIOs need to be aware of developing contemporary issues that can
affect and impact an investigation. There are consistent principles that an SIO
should follow in order to provide an effective investigation furthermore they
need to be greatly aware of the developing investigation and consider each case
of the wide range factors and information that are presented in them. An SIO essentially
needs to effectively manage the opportunities and challenges which may be
presented in the investigation. There are many challenges within a mass of
cases that illustrate these areas of complexities, showing the degree of the intricacy
and how they are able to impact an investigation as a result.


investigative process:


A crucial
aspect of the investigation is the investigative process requires the SIO to efficiently
and effect??ivy manage the initial response to the investigation. The response process
begins with an initial crime scene assessment where potential evidence is gathered
and identified and then evaluated in regarding its relevance to case. Within in
the initial crime scene assessment stage there are many complex’s and
developments that can arise from sourcing potential evidence.  The SIO of the investigation needs to have the
aptitude and capability to understand information from the scene. Bentham memorably stated
that ”The field of evidence is
the field of knowledge”, what this implies
that our existing knowledge makes sense of evidence which then facilitates its
operative state for a legal purpose. This stage is crucial for any
investigation as it foundation building blocks for any investigation. Every
single crime that is committed is differentiated from one another and no two
are the same as every crime is different and has a unique collection and
distribution of evidence.


The integrity of evidence
plays a fundamental aspect of the investigation.it is understood now that criminal
investigation is usually the only chance to identify and collect the material that’s
required by courts to hear a case. Physical material enables investigators to
narrow down the possibilities and construct a hypothesis of what has occurred. If
material is not identified during an investigation, it is improbable that it
can later be recuperated. If an investigator fails to identify and detect material
during the investigation phase it is doubtful that these materials will be available
later on as a result it may cause difficulties later on in the case as courts
may find it problematic to assess the quality of material presented later on.


The investigators need to try
to establish what has occurred, while at the same time preserving and managing
the scene and ensuring that the correct individuals have been alerted e.g. Scenes
of crime officer (SOCO) and a pathologist. Making sure that all protocols are
being followed throughout, especially when concerning in Identification and preservation of evidence in
order to maintain its integrity. Assimilating
relevant information at this stage is imperative, the SIO can begin to attempt
build a picture, forming various hypotheses testing each one and choosing which
hypothesis is most likely to have occurred and looking at its justifications as
to why. The hypothesis formulated at this stage of the investigation must be capable
of being turned into appropriate lines of enquiry, recognising which
information may act as a source of potential evidence and forming the ‘story’
to case. It is the story that is presented, the position can be justified and the
ultimate probanda proved.


Maguire and Norris suggested in 1992 that police
investigations were conducted and characterized by case construction rather
than truth finding. Cases were then constructed based on the hypothesis that
were formed as soon as an individual was suspected. The investigation proceedings
then soon focused on information that will support that suspicion rather than a
continuing the search focused on what really occurred (Maguire and Norris, 1992).  As a result, there have been several
cases that consequently lead to miscarriages of justice due to investigators precipitous
decisions making. A study was conducted in 1992 by the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice from the research conducted the
most occurring type of error in crime investigation was that of decisions
making within the investigations (Irving and Dunnighan, 1993).  


In the Lesley
Molseed cases is a great example of miscarriage of justice due to the descions made
at the beginning of the investigation. Stefan Kiszko who was an intellectually
disabled man was wrongfully convicted for the murder of Lesley Molseed and
served 16 years prison sentence. West Yorkshire Police immediately framed that
Kiszko fitted their profile of the kind of individual liable to have murdered
Lesley Molseed despite the fact that he had never been persecuted by the law.
In addition, he had the mental and emotional age of 12 and had no social life
beyond his mother. Consequently, due to the hypothesis made on the based on three
young girls reported that he indecently exposed himself just days before Lesley
was murdered due to this information the police became doubtful of Kiszko’s unique
lifestyle. Furthermore, Kiszko had a strange hobby of writing down registration
numbers of cars that infuriated him coincidently he had written down the number
of a car later discovered in close proximate to the crime scene. West Yorkshire
Police pursued evidence that would incriminate him as they convinced that he
was the prime and only suspect while ignoring other potential leads that might have
resulted in a different outcome to the investigation. This contributed to his
wrongful conviction, this particular case is a great illustration of a case
being conducted and characterized by case construction rather than truth
finding. Hypothesis that are formed are crucial for the development of the
investigation which can change the direction of the case altogether.