The most important aspect of evidence collection and preservation is protecting the crime scene. This is to keep the pertinent evidence uncontaminated until it can be recorded and collected. The successful prosecution of a case can hinge on the state of the physical evidence at the time it is collected. The protection of the scene begins with you until the arrival of the first police officer at the scene and it ends when the scene is released from police custody. Crimes relating to theft of goods and equipment, which are insured by the owner tends not to get the attention it deserves and in many instances, if no harm was done to anyone, police sometimes does not come out to the scene and the complainant is asked to come into the police station to report the case. Should the complainant wish to have the case investigated, the following steps should be followed;
Keep a diary of events and actions taken at the scene. The diary should contain a sequential reference number, the date and time of the incident/activity and a brief description of the incident/activity If possible, make double folded number tags to be placed at locations where access was gained, burglary equipment was found left behind, shoe,hand and fingerprints found and to indicate where household items was located before it was removed (stolen) etc. Try and determine how access was gained to the premisses through/over the outer perimeter o Shoe and hand marks on outer perimeter wall o Damage to outer perimeter fence o Landing marks in garden beds - shoe imprints o Shoe prints on walkways leading to the building Determine how access was gained to the building and make notes of any possible signs  of intrusion; o Windows broken and/or forced open o Doors broken and/or forced open o Security gates/burglar bars damaged and/or forced open o Foot, hand and finger prints on window silk, window handles and door knob Determine the point of exit from the building/house Move systematically through the house/building and identify items that has been removed Place number tags at these locations and make a note in the diary of a description of the item that was removed (Include serial numbers where available) Take photos at every point where you have placed a number tag. This should tie up with the descriptions given with every number tag
Take photos and/or videotape the entire crime scene
Developed by SQAS-SA
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