Murder Investigation - Case Study

Initial call for Service

On a Monday evening Cambridgeshire Constabulary received a call from a member of the public with concerns about a female who had not been seen for some time. Officers attended the location and forced entry. Inside they found an injured male and a deceased female. The area supervisor and additional officers attended the scene. The scene was closed and officers were tasked with gathering all evidence and information relating to the incident. To restrict any contamination of the scene only selected officers were able to enter to search for other casualties. Throughout this, all officers were recording their actions on their personal issue body cameras.

A new tuServ Event Dashboard was created, details of the female, male, informant and any others involved, including photos, documents and other relevant information were logged onto the Event Dashboard. The decision was made to arrest the male. At this stage the attending supervisor was managing eight officers, multiple members of the public and two scenes. Officers were conducting mobile, fast-track enquiries, managing the scenes and gathering information and evidence using the tuServ Event Dashboard as the single storage location.

Attending Supervisor Sergeant Motley said “Using the tuServ Event Dashboard saved me and my Officers a huge amount of time. Officers did not need to follow a laborious process of returning to a Police station, copying photos and videos, burning them to disc, booking them into property, taking them to the property store and exhibiting them, it is all done for you.”

All material generated outside of tuServ were scanned and placed on the Event Dashboard as a central point of reference for Officers all at different locations. The Event Dashboard securely contained people, locations, communication items, photos, videos, property references, accounts from members of the public and Officers, decision and scene logs, all of which would stand up to court scrutiny utilising tamper and continuity checks which are integral to the system.

Sergeant Motley said “The Event Dashboard was the central point for anyone involved with this incident. This helped us deliver a more professional, efficient and sound foundation for a more thorough and detailed investigation. It is hard to fully explain the impact this system had on this incident as it delivered positives to every person involved.”

Initial investigation – On call Detective Inspector

The On Call Detective Inspector (DI) was notified of the incident and made the decision to attend the scene. On arriving, information was coming in from various sources, notes from officers, accounts from the public, historical information and images from within the scene. This information and evidence could be reviewed directly through the Event Dashboard, rather than waiting for that information to be pulled together once officers returned to the station.

The ability to have immediate access to primary evidence allowed the DI to quickly task officer’s with outstanding actions. There were specific points that the DI wished to be clarified within the scene, so the decision was made that the attending supervisor would re-enter the scene and provide further information before key decisions could be made. A video with full commentary was then taken inside the scene by the attending supervisor. This was then immediately viewed by the DI along with all other information stored on the Event Dashboard. Detective Inspector Warren said “Cross contamination of the scene can compromise any investigation. Being able to see inside the scene without actually entering it ensured I had detailed and timely information to improve my decision making process.”

CSI attendance

Crime Scene Investigators arrived and were able to be immediately briefed with all key information and scene evidence in order to form a more detailed investigation plan before entering, all from the tuServ Event Dashboard.

Major Crime Team

The on call DI handed the initial investigation over to the Major Crime Team Detective Inspector using the tuServ Event Dashboard. Detective Inspector Warren said “After many years in this organisation I can say that this was the easiest briefing to Major Crime I have conducted. Being able to display all relevant information and evidence collated in the course of the initial investigation enabled me to focus on the tasks in hand rather than explain what the evidence was. Not only did this reduce the briefing time it ensured that Major Crime saw the information and evidence immediately rather than having to imagine it until it could be accessed. Taking into consideration the end to end business process, the savings in time and the benefit of direct access to information the overall value to the organisation is remarkable.”

The collation of primary evidence in the Event Dashboard enabling the review by the Major Crime Team DI meant the scene visit, normally one of the first tasks, was not immediately required. The MCU DI was able to directly brief her team, showing the information directly rather than repeating information she had been told. Just this small change meant the briefing for her team was brought forward by 3 hours. Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Thompson said “Being able to brief my team on a large screen from the tuServ Event Dashboard was extremely useful, the visual impact ensured they were able to get into the story and almost step into the scene immediately. It was as good as allowing every Officer to walk around the scene and pick up evidence. It also meant the team viewed the primary evidence directly.”

The previous method of identifying, finding, collating and distributing all information and evidence for such a large investigation can take several days meaning primary evidence cannot be properly assessed. Such delays can impede the initial investigation which can result in suspects being held in custody for longer than necessary as evidence has to be gathered and assessed prior to the interview process being finalised.

Detective Constable Rice said “We were already on the front foot, ensuring full utilisation of the short time we have when someone is in custody for such a serious incident. As an Investigating Officer for this incident, being able to ensure the integrity of the information gathered is key, helping ensure there are no technicalities that could be exploited later in the process. The full audit that tuServ supplies ensures we can prove every interrogation of the system, this is a very powerful, transparent system.”

The quality of the early decisions based on clear, accurate and timely information was improved considerably. From the first attending Officers, through to the Pathologist, the access to information within the tuServ Event Dashboard has improved these decisions and saved not only the Constabulary, but all others with the court process time. Detective Inspector Thompson