Each piece of evidence taken should be placed in the appropriate container, numbered as to which scene it was removed from, and labelled with the date and time of removal. Finally the officer that bagged the evidence should be sure to seal the evidence correctly and place his initials and full name on the sealed bag. The evidence should be placed in further containers for removal which should also be sealed, labelled, dated and signed by the officer who placed the evidence in the containers.
This ensures that the evidence once removed from the scene is secure and uncontaminated. All this should be recorded in the log books of the attending officers; in fact every thing must be recorded, all decisions and all reasoning included. (Barret – Lawton K (23/03/04) It is extremely important that evidence is kept secure and accessible at all times. When a check is needed of a piece of evidence it must be carried out with the least contamination and the evidence should only be disturbed if it is necessary for further analysis by the forensic scientists.
The collection of evidence is an integral part of an investigation, as crimes become more sophisticated and criminals become more aware of forensics and the use in helping to seize criminals, they will try many ways to thwart the police and evade capture. The fact that DNA can now be taken in smaller and smaller amounts to help solve crimes and can be used after many years of storage, (for murder up to 100 years) . (Barret – Lawton K (23/03/04) is making crime as we know it alter.
Murder and robberies will as always be committed, but crime is transferring its hold to other areas that may not have been possible many years ago, and as the crime alters so the way of resolving it must alter with it. By learning that non contamination and keeping evidence secure could prove in years to come a way forward in catching the most unique of criminals. Evidence is also used to refute or support witnesses/suspects at a crime scene, it could be in the witnesses/suspects favour to lie as to whether the crime was committed by them, or not.
For the stability and the honesty of the evidence it must at all times be placed in the appropriate containers, labelled correctly, sealed, dated and signed to ensure that there is not nor could be contamination from being incorrectly packaged and transported. This is extremely important should any of the evidence be thought to be cross contaminated by being incorrectly sealed; then it becomes of no use as evidence for the prosecution.
Should it be placed in the incorrect containers which would allow evidence to leak or be easily damaged this again would negate the usefulness of this as evidence. It should also be stored at the correct temperature to ensure the evidence will not deteriorate. When the evidence is placed in the correct storage area, it should be signed for and entered into a log, giving an account as to where the evidence can be found. This also helps the forensic scientist to find the correct evidence to analysis if needed to assist the case to move forward.
Ensuring secure and non contaminated evidence gives strength and credibility to the officers and establishes a credible case for the Crown prosecution Service; it also helps to give faith to the general public that the correct people are being prosecuted for the crime. In time this will help rebuild the public's faith in the Police in general and it also enables the police to take into and keep out of the public, people who have committed crimes and have been arrested and sentenced for. When communicating to the lab the SIO will use the form commonly known as the HALOB FORM.
(MgFSS)(Barrett-Lawton. K. (23/03/04) Any form of forensic examination must be relevant to the crime committed. There is a identification system which is used by 43 police forces in England and Wales called The National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) this system can prove a quick and inexpensive way to provide a match for fingerprints by connecting to the national database using a sophisticated Automatic Fingerprint Recognition (AFR) function, which will run all fingerprints found at a crime scene. (Home Office (07/99).
There is also a way to check for data on footprints as well which can be run through a common database which is in the process of being set up by many police forces in the country. There would be an analysis of the film taken at the scene, to possibly run the faces of the witnesses/suspects through Face Analysis Comparison and Elimination Service (FACES) (anon (no date) [online] 7 If it is suspected that some of the detained persons could be known, there is a further system that can be called in to identify them, this is National Criminal Intelligence System (NICS)(anon (no date) [online]7
One of the most damming pieces of evidence would be the direct connection between dog and owner, if there was a proved link between dog and badger by claw marks or teeth marks made by either badger or dog. Fur found on/in the dog (teeth and faeces) that could be matched to the badger found at the site. There may be fur caught between the badgers claws and teeth which could match the dog or dogs that had attacked it and there could be marks on the badger from either spades, pick handle or bricks found at the site, which could have been used to incite the badger to rage and cause it harm by beating it to death.
Would this form of investigation take place? It is very unlikely owing to the fact that the legislation for prosecuting persons who commit this type of crime is not often followed through. Mainly because these kinds of acts are often perpetrated on Farmers lands who class the badger as a pest, so turn a blind eye to the cruelty committed against the animal Since 1992 Protection of Badgers Act has been in force and since 1996 The Wild Mammals Protection Act has also been in force (DEFRA) There is now a fine or i?? 5000 per animal or 6 months in prison but it has taken many years for this to be the case.
Discussion The consciousness amongst countries has been growing since 1963 but until 1975 on July 1st when finally many countries entered an international agreement (CITES) was it recognised that several species were in need of protection and on an endangered path. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (anon no date [online]) 1 CITES was born, which had in 1976 been joined by the United Kingdom (UK) and now today there are 164 Countries subject to being monitored and monitoring the movement of endangered species.
In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was not created until 2001, it was formally known as Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Food (MAAF) (anon no date [online]) 2 This organisation works closely with Police, HM Customs and Excise and Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), it co-chairs Partnership for Action Against Wild Life (PAW) and manages a team of 100 wild life inspectors. These inspectors provide permits and certificates, by verifying information; they also check that people are following the rules.
(Anon no date [online]) 3 Though it would appear that DEFRA is the main body, a great deal of wild life crime prosecutions are sought by PAW and the RSPCA, since 2001 there have been prosecutions involving the public in context with Amphibians, Badgers, Bats, Birds, Deer, Eggs, Fish, Plants and Trappings, also 12 counts of bush meat being imported and a CITES case of smuggling and illegal trading of endangered species (anon no date [online]) 4
Awareness is growing amongst every day people, of how protecting endangered species is very important and Caroline Barker of Nature watch is trying very hard to encourage DEFRA to improve on the Badger act of 1992. (Barker C (03/04) The Police have little or no powers under this act to arrest let alone obtain search warrants. Penalties when handed out if brought to court are minimal and though the Judge may have the power to ban the keeping of dogs and confiscation of tools this is rarely done. Until the bottleneck in the legislation is cleared more badgers will be beaten and tortured to death. Why is it important for this to stop?
Though the badger is a lonely and solitary animal not easy to anger, preferring to be left alone and very rarely seen, it is a part of the heritage that we hand down to our children and it is time the legislation was altered so that the police can do their job and protect our heritage or like the dodo it will become extinct. The police are being made powerless by bureaucrats, which instead of giving support to the persons who uphold the law and have to implement it. They take away their ability to act in a humane manner and support the public in their belief that animals have the right to live in peace also.