Each case including any kind of crime depends on many aspects of the work of the police and investigators. However, the success of further development is very often influenced by the quality of the first officer’s actions arriving at a crime scene. A conviction, as a final step in all cases, can be properly done only on the basis of the evidence and facts gathered, starting from the first moment the police comes to the place. The basic steps are to take an appropriate approach, render medical help to victims, identify additional victims or witnesses, secure the scene and make records of everything happening (Hawthorne 11). In addition, the officer is required to determine possible enter and exit of suspects and to keep unauthorized people out of the crime scene.
Investigating a crime scene, the first officer is required to do the following things. It is obvious and paramount for the one to ensure safety and well-being of any individuals present. The officer must remove all potential threats to himself or herself and others. The one has to keep self-protection in mind and ensure that there is no threat to additional victims or it is decreased to a minimum. Besides, the first officer is responsible for the injured and can have various duties. If the emergency medical services personnel have not arrived yet, the officer should provide the first aid. In the case when a person has some serious wounds, the police officer has to do everything to save him or her until the time the paramedics come. In addition, if the victim suffers from pain caused by some broken bone without any serious consequences, the officer is obliged to pay attention to the evidence that can be altered or lost easily. If the victim is still alive, an attempt should be made to take a dying declaration (Warrington).
The way of approach to the place of crime is not the least important thing. Officers have to be aware of all routes in the areas for which they are responsible. They should always be very attentive for not to make a collision with another police representatives. One more important thing is that while getting to a place of crime, officers are required to be very attentive and check every possible suspicious person or some other facts.
Returning to the officer’s actions sequence, it is obvious to mention work with additional witnesses. After the main victims are in charge of some medical workers, the officer must search for additional evidence to collect as many details of what have happened as possible. Besides, separating witnesses, if there are a number of them, is necessary to analyze many variants and people’s versions of the situation. The latter can usually differ slightly because of the shock people get from the crime. Therefore, it is better to hear each story separately, as witnesses will not have an opportunity to make up some details they do not remember. On the other hand, the officer must pay extra attention to witnesses who tell exactly the same version of crime development. As a rule, that means the people have agreed what to say beforehand, and correspondingly, this fact does not bring too much trust in their words.
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Although the human factor is very important, the physical surroundings play a great role too. A lot of things and their location itself can represent the evidence of what have happened and of the participants. A perimeter around is obligatory to protect the territory as well as the lookout of a careful officer. A necessary issue for the latter to follow is not to concentrate on the visible territory, but to investigate and pay attention to the smallest items, which can lead to the investigation of further crime scenes. Quite a large perimeter can be usually covered by police cars or the personnel itself. In the case there is a big crowd willing to observe, the greatest number of officers is called.
The inner territory where the crime has happened should be well preserved not only from the crowd but also from the non-authorized police and medical representatives. A crime scene log is a tool, which helps officers to record all people entering the perimeter. There the officers write the time of entering, purpose, organization, and the time of leaving, and make all remarks to preserve actions done at the first stage of crime resolution (Hawthorne 16).
Such log should be written by officers who appear first at the place of crime. They make a lot of records about the location of different subjects, write down all information they get from witnesses, and put their own observations to make the work of further police representatives easier and more effective. Hence, the ultimate goal of the work of the first officers is to provide a set of material, which will serve as a springboard for the following investigation and analyses.
Considering the information given above, it becomes clear that there is no point of collecting evidences by the first police officers. As a rule, their duties are the ones described above, and all further actions of collecting details are done by the representatives of the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). However, there are some cases when the first officers have to do it too. Regarding the situation when the crime scene is outside, and there are some severe weather conditions, it becomes clear that the officer should not waste time and use the slightest chance to preserve the evidence. He or she should take photos of all things collected and remove them to save their characteristics. A chain of custody cards should be filled out for all items collected noting the case number, location, time, item description, and officer’s name and badge number (Weiss).
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The key evidence may be located at any place within the territory of the crime; that is why, all first officers are told to be very conscious and accurate with what they do and how they even move. Any curiosity is not allowed in such places, only the most necessary replacements, because all modern technologies can define DNA and details, which could be concealed by the first officers.
Therefore, the work of the first officer arriving at a crime scene is really very responsible and accurate as any wrong steps can mislead further investigation, and those who have to be punished will escape punishment.