Introduction: arise from sourcing potential evidence. The SIO



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.

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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 (Smith and
Flanagan, 2000). 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” (Bentham and Bowring,
1843), 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 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 (Stelfox,



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 (Smith
and Flanagan, 2000). 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 (BBC NEWS, 2007).
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.


The investigative
process is flawed as it to opaque due to the fact the investigators develop
their options and bias as the case develops over time. During the initial
crime scene assessment stage the materials that  are obtained help interpret, shape and
construct the case. If sufficient information has been gathered then the verdict
is set in stone however if the fundamental evidence isn’t presented in time can
be disastrous for the defending party. There are many factors that can
contribute the conviction of an innocent individual which include confirmatory
bias in police conducting the investigation, false confessions due to investigators
applying huge amount of pressure on the individual for a confession, dishonest
reports/witnesses statement made, non-disclosure of exculpatory evidence, cognitive
biases and prejudices of juries and also finally the media input in the
investigation which helps form the decisions made by juries. All of these errors
were present in the Lesley Molseed cases. Evidence
was suppressed in Kiszko’s favour wrongly convicting him of murder as he was
seen as unusual individual who was a social misfit that suffered from minor
behavioural abnormalities. Police applied pressure for a confession which was later
understood that pleaded guilty under duress.



role of the media:


Over the past decade the mass media has become an
important aspect in major criminal investigations. Investigators encourage
publicity and exposure for on-going case in order to support and assist them
with acquiring more knowledge. A result it could be a crucial part of the investigation
weather that is identifying an individual or help them comprehend how the crime
occurred, investigators strategically utilise the media to their advantage. The SIO of the
investigation needs to have the aptitude and capability to
efficiently, ensure that media strategy for the investigation is robust enough
to ensure that they remain in charge of press releases and that they maintain
ownership and control.  


Investigators acknowledge the power of the media as
a result utilised the power it holds. Most investigators view the media as a mixed
blessing (Stelfox, 2009).
The relationship between the police and the media is “an enduring, if not ecstatically happy, marriage” as Sir Robert mark
the commissioner of the metropolitan police stated in 1971. Most media outlets
are just interested acquiring material to provide information that is perceived
as worthy news. That modern news is influenced by entertainment industry and
that they are driven by visualising deviance as “Deviance is the defining characteristic of what journalists regard as newsworthy”
(Ericson et al., 1987). Ericson
and his collages conducting the study on visualising deviance, stated that the
high proportion of news that is portrayed about deviance and control. The media
portrays a distorted image of crime through their selection of certain stories
which are dedicated to deviance.


Murder cases especially those that contain suspicious
death remain the most common crime that is portrayed in media and highly likely
to attract intense media and public interest. Violent acts will strong visual graphical
impact are highly likely to tract the media interest. Correspondingly, the trends
in the media imply a progressively threatening image of crime in news stories.
This is compounded by the more negative and destructive representations of the
police (Mason, 2012).


In most major criminal investigations, credible
material is accumulated at an in the initial crime scene assessment stage,
which later on provides a clear focus for the line enquiries of the
investigation. Evidently cases that accumulate relevant materials in the early
stages are distinguished relatively quickly. Only a minority of investigations
are complex when materials aren’t composed in the early stages. Then next initial
stage for the investigation is to use the media as an investigative tool and release
information, frequently this is last possibility when all other inquiries have
been exhausted. Using the media is often an advantage when investigator have


However, there is no assurance that a story will be
reported in ways that has a positive impact to the investigation. There have
been incidents where a story has been reported in an uncooperative and disobliging
manner regarding the investigation. Simply due to the fact that it constructs a
better story and is news worthy or isn’t reported at all because its considered
as ordinary and mundane. There is a danger when realising information to the
media as the case may be sensualised in ways that ultimately misconstrue the
level of threat and the investigation.