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An investigation is undertaken when a crime has been reported and a police officer investigates the circumstance following all lines of enquiry of the situation to determine if a crime has been conducted and where a person/s should be charged with an offence, or if the person who offended is guilty.
Under the Home Office counting rules, when members of the public are making a complaint, victims should be believed for the matter of recording a crime unless it's clear that the incident did not happen. An investigators duty is to gather and test all material presented including witness accounts/statements and use technical and scientific expertise to maximise evidential opportunity.
The following outcomes may be that the suspect is prosecuted in court, receives an out of court disposal, community resolution or charges dropped. A lot of the times investigators may not find enough evidential material to make a charging decision either as a result of lack of evidence or not enough lines of enquiry to pursue. However the investigation outcome must still be recorded accurately for intelligence purposes and especially for future use, as this will help police identify crime hotspots and help reduce crime rates.
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and the associated Codes of Practice set out the legislation and standards for dealing with people who come into contact with the police. Whilst members of the public are detained in custody, officers and staff should treat them in a way that is dignified and takes account of their human rights and individual needs. The Police force are only allowed to use force within a custody suite which is deemed necessary, proportionate and lawful and must be recorded by officers who have undergone appropriate and adequate training.
The PACE covers the following:
When an officer makes an arrest, they are personally responsible for the risk assessment and welfare of the detained person. This responsibility continues until the suspect is handed over to the custody officer for a decision regarding detention. For a member of the public to be detained at a police station the following must be addressed and considered by the Custody officer:
the grounds for detention
whether to grant bail
whether to authorise or refuse detention
It is possible for an individual arrested not to be detained if the custody officer believes that there are insufficient grounds for detention. The reasons must be and the detainee must be released.
There are occasions that require the use of firearms by Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) in conflict situations. This response is a well-established and necessary approach to managing conflict. Commanders and AFOs are trained to analyse and determine appropriate courses of action in the course of armed deployments.
Police officers have a positive duty to protect the public from harm – a duty of care to all involved must be the overriding consideration. Police decision-making and response is vital in such situations and thus the National Decision model (NDM) is used to assist with the decision-making process.
The Authorised Professional Practice for Armed Policing covers guidance on the appropriate use of firearms within the police force. It also acts as a basis for training police officers in matters relating to the operational use of firearms.
The also provides guidance on structural command, tactical options and operational challenges with the deployment of Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs).
Undercover policing is a covert tactic used by the Police to obtain evidence and intelligence. It is also used to detect crime and disorder and help maintain public safety.
Undercover policing is a lawful and ethical tactic and when applied rightly can be very effective tool. In order to ensure it is kept this way, Authorised Professional Practice (APP) has been developed and used by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) across the United Kingdom.
There is an undercover accreditation process that has been developed to provide an assessment of whether the management and governance of undercover units are effective in supporting safe, ethical and lawful undercover operations.
Undercover operatives (UCOs) are deployed as covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) in authorised investigations. There are three different types of UCOs, Undercover foundation(UCFs), Undercover advanced operatives (UCAs) AND Undercover online operatives (UCOLs). All must go through vigorous training and go through a robust selection process.
Police have a duty to respond to every incident reported in an appropriate way and in a timely manner. A critical incident (CI) is defined as:
any incident where the effectiveness of the police response is likely to have a significant impact on the confidence of the victim, their family and/or the community. An incident can be escalated to a CI when the police fail to meet the expectation of a victim/family and/or the community in responding to an incident.
Therefore critical incident management (CIM) is key within the police force. Different types of incidents can become critical, high profile, serious or homicide related. If the police do not respond in a timely manner to serious incidents it can result in loss of confidence by the public.
There are 3 stages to CIM:
Preparing for critical incidents – considering current management structures to ensure staff are trained effectively and resources are available
Managing critical incidents – identifying critical incidents early on and notified to the most appropriate person.
Restoring public confidence – restoring broken confidence amongst the public by community engagement, resolution and public inquiry.
Decision-making in the Police service can be very complex. Police officers most often have to make decisions in very difficult circumstances and situations and may not have all the necessary or complete information to hand. It is also very important to note that the role that police officers play and the environment where they have to make decisions can be very complicated. Police officers and police staff are sometimes required to make decisions in circumstances where those involved deliberately mislead or try to mislead them. As a result it may not always lead to the best outcome.
Therefore to create a framework that could allow officers to base their decisions on, and allow for examination of each decision and allow for some form of standardisation in decision making the National Decision Model (NDM) was created.
At the heart of the NDM, the Code of Ethics highlighted is essential for all decision making. This gives confidence for police officers to use the NDM and reduces risk. Decision makers will be supported by their organisation where it can be shown that their decision was assessed by the NDM and the circumstances at the time, even when harm has resulted as part of the decision making process.
Civil emergencies require a professional and structured response to all emergencies, this includes Police, fire and ambulance services and must meet the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. These services must have interoperable arrangements to allow for well-coordinated responses to major or complex incidents, as this would affect life.
This document helps to cover contingency planning and responses to civil emergences from the Police service.
Some major incidents may result in loss of life. Disaster victim identification (DVI) is the process of being able to identify a deceased in multiple fatality incidents. This involves combining antemortem and post-mortem examinations to make a positive identification using scientific means. This takes place at the same time an investigation is being undertaken. DVI is an internationally accepter terms is and its principles are subject to international agreement through INTERPOL.
The Command and Control (C&C) solution is the incident management and deployment solution for police officers responding to incidents reports by the public. Command and control is the authority and capability of an organisation to direct the actions of its personnel and the use of its equipment.
Incidents are usually graded based on severity of the incident and officers have Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) target in responding to incidents especially serious/critical incidents. SLA’s may differ from police force. C&C can also be used for a wide range of scenarios ranging from policing local community events, to responding to a major criminal investigation such as a terrorist attack, arson attack requiring several officers to respond to more sensitive investigations such as a rape incident requiring more specialised officers.
There are times where certain incidents or operations where the police response requires a different approach and it may be necessary to establish a dedicated command structure such as bronze, silver and gold.
The success of any major incident coordination requires an organised, professional and methodical approach. The Major Room Incident (MIR) is critical to this coordination as this is where all information is gathered and analysed for response coordination.
Major investigation and public protection has many strands and arms. It consists of:
Child sexual exploitation
Female genital mutilation
Forced marriage and honour-based violence
Gangs and youth violence
Kidnap and extortion
Rape and sexual offences
Stalking or harassment
Managing sexual offenders
It also has major elements of mental health. The Mental health Authorised Professional Practice (APP) has provided guidance on Police response to members of the public who are experiencing mental ill health, have learning disabilities and mental and emotional vulnerable individuals. The guidance applies whether the police are acting in a criminal justice or health care capacity or in both of these roles.
There are incidents that take place where the police respond to a serious injury/incident or where there is a deceased or where at a later time the victim dies. This APP – describes the post-incident procedures, management, welfare and legal issues stemming from serious incidents.
The guidance outlines provision of accounts by officers and staff, provides responsibilities for key roles, and sets out approaches to organisational learning and debriefing. The information provided is relevant to any investigation, whether carried out by the force’s professional standards department (PSD) or by the relevant independent investigative authority (IIA).
It is the responsibility of each force to determine how the post-incident procedures will be implemented and should therefore create an implementation plan showing how each area, roles and responsibilities will be fulfilled. This should include any training plans needed for individuals carrying out specific roles.
Where serious injury or death has resulted in the discharge of a firearm by a police officer or member of police staff, this guidance will not apply. Please refer to APP Armed Policing.
It is important to note that a serious injury is referred to as a fracture, deep cut, deep laceration or injury causing damage to an internal organ or the impairment of any bodily function.