Criminal Investigation Essay: Preliminary Investigation Guidelines

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For a successful investigation process, there should be some specific guidelines or rules which have to be followed when carrying out a preliminary investigator. First and foremost, the investigator has to be a person who adheres to these guidelines and follows them strictly. These guidelines will help the investigator get more information about the case he or she is handling. Some of the responsibilities of criminal investigators include the collection of evidence, preparation of an in-depth report on the crime scene, an analysis of the evidence found at the crime scene, a scientific analysis of the evidence and conducting a comparison of the evidence. Almost all police investigation starts at the crime scene. This is where the incidence happened.

Once an investigator arrives at the crime scene, he or she should ensure that it does not tamper. The investigator has to protect the crime scene because substantial evidence may be lost. Once a death has been confirmed, the investigator should ensure that no more people are allowed in the crime scene, especially the public and the media (Hess & Orthmann, 2013). When the detective supervisor is absent, it is the responsibility and the mandate of the homicide detective to carry out the investigator. If there are witnesses, they should be questioned. All relevant information must be obtained. An investigator as to ensure that the five w questions are answered (who, what, when, where and why) (Hess & Orthmann, 2013). The investigator also has to provide air if there are any hurt people, protect the life that may be in danger and secure and preserve the crime scene as well as the evidence. The preliminary investigation is very critical and is the first step towards getting tangible evidence.

Strategies in Conducting an Efficient Follow-Up Investigation

There are several strategies that criminal investigators can use to make sure that the investigation proves conducted efficiently. One of these strategies is by ensuring that the witness or witnesses to the case are interviewed correctly and thoroughly. The interview process should be efficient, thorough and effective without intimidating the witness in any way. In addition to that, post-interview communication should be highly encouraged, but this will be possible if the investigator has good social skills (Hess & Orthmann, 2013). The witness should be encouraged to volunteer giving more information or when he or she remembers any piece of information that he or she did not give, to contact the investigator right away. Post-interview communication also provides unprompted responses. These are very critical, and most of the information lies there. This technique is essential in the follow-up investigation as it allows the witness to provide all information without hiding anything (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2002). Another way is to ask the witness whether they can be able to recreate the incidence as it happened. It is also important for the investigator to tell the witness not to reveal any confidential information to the media or other third parties since that may hamper the investigation process.

Reporting of Sudden-death and Sex Related Crimes

Methods of reporting cases differ depending on the type of crime committed. Sudden deaths and sex-related crimes are not reported in the same way. A coroner is used in reporting sudden deaths. Death is considered sudden if unnatural deaths have caused it, it was sudden, it cannot be easily explained, or it was not expected in any way. The coroner has to be informed when a sudden case occurs (Coroner Service, 2000). There is a Coroners Act which states that all sudden deaths have to be reported as stated in the act. Moreover, there are also other local laws which stipulate that these sudden deaths have to be reported. Once a death has been reported to the coroner, a doctor has to be contacted. The doctor will then confirm whether he or she saw the deceased and whether the cause of death was as a result of unnatural causes (Coroner Service, 2000). When all these conditions are met, and the investigations are over, a medical certificate of the cause of death is carried out by the doctor, and upon completion, the death is registered. A doctor is not mandated to certify an unnatural death if all these steps have not been completed.

When it comes to a sex-related crime, the process and the procedure is different. Once a person sees, hears or witness such a crime, the first thing that should be done is contacting the police through 911. Even the victim should call 911 helpline. There are trained personnel who provide the caller or the victim with the most appropriate step to do (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2002). It is also important to ensure that the victim is taken to a hospital to be checked as he or she helps the police in explaining what took place. The person who takes the victim to the hospital should provide the report if the victim is not in a position to provide it.

Characteristics of an Effective Criminal Investigator

There are several characteristics that an effective criminal investigator needs to possess. First, and one of the most essential, the investigator should be able to obtain relevant and appropriate information about the case he or she is dealing with and be able to retain the information fully. He or she should not forget the information easily. Secondly, the investigator should be a good communicator (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2002). In addition to that, he should possess social skills. This is important since it will enable him to relate easily with people, ask them questions and people will feel comfortable providing answers and feedback.

Third, the investigator has to be impartial and open-minded. When an investigator is biased, the outcome will also be biased. Moreover, biases cloud his or her judgment preventing him or her from conducting a thorough investigation. The investigator must let the evidence be proof of what happened rather than come up with his or her conclusion. It is also very crucial that he or she be emotionally balanced (Hess & Orthmann, 2013). The investigation is a sensitive job, and if the investigator lets emotions take over, that will cloud his or her judgment and worse, ruin his personal life and strain the relationship between the investigator and his or her direct family.

Maintaining Balance Regarding Freedom of Information through Media Outlets and Privacy Rights of Alleged Perpetrators of Crime

It is essential that in every criminal process, the right and proper balance should be maintained with regards to freedom of information through media outlets and privacy rights of those convicted of having committed a crime. However, this is rarely the case. On most cases, once a person commits a crime or is convicted of a certain crime, the case becomes so much publicized with every media outlet coming up with a different story about the case and the perpetrator (Hess & Orthmann, 2013). The information becomes distorted and misconstrued. Some people argue that media outlets do not have the right to distribute or share any information on pending cases or criminals since perpetrators also have their rights.

However, other people argue that people should be made aware of cases and the criminals involved especially if it affects the community. In my opinion, the media should work hand in hand with criminal investigators in sensitizing the society and community at large (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2002). When there is a dangerous person on the loose, the information should be communicated to the media who will warn citizens. Citizens will then take precautions and report any suspicious activities or the person whose description matches with the one provided by the media. Nonetheless, the media should not be given too much information especially when the investigation process is ongoing since this may hamper the entire process.



Coroner Service An Tseirbhis Chroineara. (2000). Welcome to the Coroner Service Website. Retrieved July 12, 2014 from %20of%20a %20Sudden%20Death

Hess, K. M., & Orthmann, C. H. (2013). Criminal investigation (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth Publishing / Cengage Learning.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2002, October 14). Theories of Criminal Law. Retrieved 28th Oct, 2017 from

Truro Police Department. (2004, October 20). Criminal Investigation . TPDM Policy OPS-6.02.1. Mass. Gen. Law: Chap. 90, Sec.22B, MRCP 14(a)(1)(A)(viii). Retrieved 28th Oct, 2017 from


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