Title: Preservation of a Crime Scene and Evidence
Category: Custodial Operations Standard Operating Procedure
Implement Date: 30 August 2011
Application: Custodial Operations
Appendices and Forms
Associated Custodial Operations Standard Operating Procedures
QCSA Training Aides
Review Date: November 2013
|3.||Duties of First Officer Attending a Crime Scene|
|3.2||Management of witnesses and suspects at the crime scene|
|3.3||Hand over to investigating officer|
|3.4||Documentation and records|
|3.5||Preservation of a crime scene|
|4.||Disturbing a Crime Scene|
|5.||Methods for Securing and Maintaining a Crime Scene|
|6.||Prisoner Incident Referred to Queensland Police Service (QPS)|
|7.||Preservation of Evidence|
|8.||Continuity of Possession|
|9.||Handling of Specific Evidence|
|9.4||Ropes, twine, cordage|
|9.8||Biological evidence (eg. blood stained clothing, seminal fluids, etc)|
|10.||Fingerprints and Other Types of Evidence|
A process must be developed for the effective preservation of a crime scene and evidence when an alleged offence has been committed or an incident has occurred. This must include that the security and integrity of a crime scene and associated information are maintained to prevent evidence from being contaminated, destroyed, lost or altered. The process must be in accordance with-
Safety and Security - Our Principles - Incident response
We will provide an enhanced incident response capability.
Refer - Safety and Security - Our Principles (in-confidence)
Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia Standard 1.49,1.50, 1.52,1.53,1.54
Refer - Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia Revised 2004
.It is important to maintain the security and integrity of a crime scene and preservation of evidence to ensure the success of any breach action taken under section 118 of the Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA) or the success of any prosecution for an offence under the CSA, Queensland Criminal code, Drugs Misuse Act 1986 or any other relevant legislation.
Unless it is absolutely necessary, touch nothing at a crime scene.
A professional and consistent response to incidents is crucial to meeting duty of care obligations and minimising harm arising from incidents. A knowledge and understanding of the responsibilities of the first officer responding to incidents is fundamental for all departmental staff.
Accountability and responsibility for the preservation of a crime scene must fall upon the duty correctional supervisor or nominated officer charged with the duty of preserving the scene.
Crime scene means the area associated with a suspected crime from/in which physical evidence may be obtained. This can include structures, rooms, open areas, vehicles and persons.
The Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 defines a crime as a primary crime scene or a secondary crime scene.
Primary crime scene is where a crime actually occurred.
Secondary crime scene is in some way related to the crime but is not where the actual crime took place.
Evidence means articles, items or things that can be used to determine the facts associated with a particular matter or to prove or disprove a fact in a court of law.
Physical evidence need not be visible to the naked eye and can include but is not limited to such evidence as clothing, DNA, documents, weapons, fingerprints, footprints, footwear impression which may need to be enhanced in order to be recorded, compared and analysed or any other item located at a crime scene. Importantly any item at a crime scene can potentially be evidence.
Preservation of evidence means deliberate and specific action taken or caused to be taken with the intention of preventing contamination to, damage to, the loss of, or destruction of, any evidence including the recording, storage and maintenance of continuity of such evidence.
The general manager of a corrective services facility must provide for the management of first officer response to an incident.
On arrival at a possible crime scene (incident) the duties of the first officer attending are-
Refer procedure - First Officer Response - Medical and Assault
If an injured person is at the crime scene, he/she must be given first aid immediately, even though valuable evidence may be destroyed. The first officer on the scene must-
If possible, suspects and witnesses should be separated and-
On arrival of the investigating officer, report all that has been learned and observed and all actions taken. The hand over briefing should include-
No access to the crime scene is permitted without the investigator's permission, NOT even to other investigators or senior officers.
At the first opportunity, the first responding officer must raise and maintain a running log of events including-
If the incident occurred in an accommodation area, the muster book or muster sheet must be secured as evidence (refer section 3), and a temporary muster book created or a new muster sheet printed from IOMS.
Crime scene preservation must override any other consideration at the scene except for the provision of first aid or CPR to a victim who requires immediate medical attention.
If the crime scene must be disturbed then the first officer responding must immediately make a record of the disturbance such as original position, reason for moving the person/piece of evidence and the investigating officer made aware of those activities as soon as possible.
At all times, officers must preserve the scene and evidence in order for it to be viewed and collected by investigating police so that it may, if relevant, be used successfully in court.
In general, nothing should be touched or moved at a crime scene. Exceptions may include-
The following methods effectively assist in preserving the scene-
The most effective method of securing a crime scene is to evacuate the area, lock and secure and post a security officer. Other methods may include-
A logbook must be maintained at the scene to record all activities in relation to security officer, entry/exit changes, visitors and investigators to the crime scene. Refer administrative form - Persons Entering/Departing a Crime Scene
The number of personnel interchanging on security duty must be kept to a minimum to reduce the number of witnesses who may be required to testify in court that the scene was kept secure.
Where a prisoner has been identified as being involved in an incident which has been referred to the QPS and there is a reasonable expectation that criminal charges may result, a corrective services officer must advise the QPS of any interview to be undertaken
with a prisoner in relation to obtaining information regarding the incident. Interviews in relation to a prisoner's ongoing welfare (eg. by medical or psychological services staff) are not subject to this requirement.
The QPS will determine whether the nature of the interview is likely to have probative value and if a QPS officer should be in attendance.
If practical, any interview conducted must be recorded on a device that has video and audio recording capabilities. If a prisoner refuses to participate in a recorded interview, the general manager of the corrective services facility or QPS will determine whether to proceed with the interview. A prisoner's consent or refusal to participate in a recorded interview must be documented.
In the event that drugs, weapons or articles are found and it is reasonable to suspect that those items may have been used in the commission of a crime, including an escape, attempted escape, or security breach ,every effort must be made to protect the evidence until an investigation by qualified personnel can be initiated.
On the discovery of any of the above, the officer making the find must comply, if possible, with the following-
If it is necessary to move or investigate the item, an officer must wear latex gloves to move the item. Place the item (except for sharps) in a plastic bag or envelope and seal the bag or envelope. Any item that possesses features that would make storage in a plastic bag or envelope undesirable or unsafe (eg. syringes) must be placed into a sharps container and labelled accordingly.
The bag, envelope or container must be clearly marked prior to placing the item within with-
To establish proof of continuity of possession, officers handling evidence/exhibits or passing evidence from one to another, must comply with the following-
The task of identifying, recording, collecting and interpreting physical evidence from a crime scene must be performed by the appropriate police personnel. Latex gloves must be worn at all times when handling exhibits to avoid contamination.
Only under exceptional circumstances, where preservation of a crime scene cannot be maintained, a supervisor must authorise the collection of evidence that may be lost, contaminated or destroyed. All physical evidence must be photographed (several times) on colour negative film stock or video recorded in situ prior to being collected, include a scale/ruler beside the evidence of interest.
An officer should minimise all handling of illicit substances and retain the original packaging.
On the discovery of-
the officer making the find must package the whole item (including the original packaging) into a clip seal plastic bag or a sealable plastic container.
Any clothing found should be placed in a clean plastic bag or clean envelope. Any synthetic drug recipes should be placed in a plastic document holder or envelope.
On the discovery of marijuana (cannabis sativa) the officer making the find must-
Documents may include but are not limited to-
Such documents must be handled with care, officers should-
The following applies on the discovery of a syringe-
The rope, twine or cordage exhibit must be placed in a plastic bag and should not be altered in any way. In a suicide event, all of the rope, including the knot (which must remain in tact) is to be secured.
On the discovery of a firearm the first priority is to ensure the safety of all persons in the immediate vicinity. Officers must ensure -
If necessary, additional barriers or protection may be placed over or around the evidence to protect from accidental or purposeful contamination, for example-
Flammable liquids must be left in the original container if suitable for storage purposes. In the event that the original container is not suitable for storage the following steps should be followed-
Liquor must be retained in the original container or poured into a clean glass bottle and secured with a cork or screw top. The container must be labelled with the identity of contents, time, date and place of discovery, owners name and the name of the officer seizing the exhibit.
Each item must be packaged separately (eg. a shirt and trousers seized from a suspect are to be packaged in separate paper bags).
If the item is wet it must be handled in such a way that any possible spatter patterns are not destroyed. The item must be placed in plastic and put in a refrigerator clearly labelled “WET ITEM PLEASE REFRIGERATE”.
If the item is dry, it must be packaged in paper.
In any crime scene there will be articles, items or things that will be able to hold a latent fingerprint, footprint or impression.
Special care must be taken to avoid walking on or touching any article, item or thing that may hold a latent fingerprint, footprint or impression.
A significant reason not to enter a crime scene unless absolutely necessary is that much of the evidence that is obtained from crime scenes is not visible to the naked eye (eg. blood stains which an offender/s has attempted to clean away).
DNA is invisible to the naked eye, as a result the area to be sampled will be directly based on information supplied by investigating officers, witnesses, complainants, scene observations etc. DNA can be subject to primary or secondary transfer from persons/objects. For example- if you witness an altercation and the offender has touched the victim in a certain place on his clothing this may be later used for identification purpose and to corroborate your version of events.
With the above in mind, officers must be vigilant to record all observations at a crime scene.
Deputy Commissioner, Custodial Operations
30/08/2011 Version 01