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NCJ Number: 63964 Find in a Library
Title: SCENE SEARCH AND CRIME RECONSTRUCTION - A RESEARCH PROJECT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES - GROUP DISCUSSION (FROM DEMONSTRATIVE EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS, 1979, SEE NCJ-63957)
Author(s): M PLATE; H W SCHMITZ; W BURGHARD
Corporate Author: Internationale Studien
Bundesinstituts Fuer
Ostwissenschafliche und
West Germany (Former)
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 9
Format: Document
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: THE RESULTS OF A WEST GERMAN RESEARCH PROJECT EXPLORING POLICE COMPETENCE IN CONDUCTING CRIME-SCENE SEARCHES ARE PRESENTED IN AN INTRODUCTORY LECTURE, FOLLOWED BY A GROUP DISCUSSION.
Abstract: A COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH PROJECT WAS CONDUCTED IN 5 WEST GERMAN CITIES AND TOWNS USING EXTENSIVE QUESTIONNAIRES SUBMITTED TO 198 POLICE OFFICERS, 77 SCENE SEARCHES IN WHICH 2 MEMBERS OF THE RESEARCH TEAM REPORTED ON THE OFFICERS' SEARCH, AND ANALYSES OF SSD (THE WEST GERMAN POLICE DATA RETRIEVAL SYSTEM) REPORTS ON CRIME SCENES SEARCHES. AN ANALYSIS OF THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE LED TO THE FOLLOWING RESULTS. OFFICERS GUIDED BY PREFABRICATED ROUTINE NOTIONS OF AN OFFENSE FREQUENTLY OVERLOOKED SIGNIFICANT UNUSUAL EVIDENCE. THE ORGANIZATION OF CRIME-SCENE SEARCHES WAS POOR: TOO MANY DIFFERENT OFFICERS WERE INVOLVED, AND COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THEM WAS INSUFFICIENT. SCENE SEARCHERS VARIED GREATLY IN THE THOROUGHNESS OF THE INVESTIGATION AND THE DETECTION OF EVIDENCE: MEMBERS OF THE CRIMINAL POLICE WERE MORE METHODICAL IN THEIR SEARCHES AND MORE PERCEPTIVE IN IDENTIFYING EVIDENCE THAN REGULAR PATROL OFFICERS. THE TWO FUNDAMENTAL CAUSES OF FAULTY EVIDENCE INTERPRETATION WERE OFFICERS' FAILURE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN FACT AND INTERPETATION AND OFFICERS' LACK OF A SET PROCEDURE FOR RECONSTRUCTING OFFENSES. INADEQUACIES IN WRITING SCENE REPORTS WERE ATTRIBUTED TO (1) INSUFFICIENT NOTES TAKEN ON LOCATION, (2) FAULTY MEMORY, (3) MISCONCEPTIONS CONCERNING THE PURPOSE OF SCENE REPORTS, (4) LACK OF STRUCTURAL ORGANIZATION, AND (5) LACK OF DETAIL IN RECONSTRUCTING THE OFFENSE. THE EXAMINATION OF SSD REPORTS REVEALED TWO MAIN PROBLEMS: INADEQUATE INITIAL INFORMATION ON WHICH THE COMPUTER CATALOGUES ARE BASED AND UNRESOLVED TECHNICAL PROBLEMS (INCLUDING INDEXING PROBLEMS). THE GROUP DISCUSSION EMPHASIZED THAT MANY OF THE SHORTCOMINGS MENTIONED IN THE LECTURE COULD BE IMPROVED THROUGH BETTER OFFICER TRAINING. --IN GERMAN. (SAJ)
Index Term(s): Crime data files; Crime Scene Investigation; Evidence collection; Germany; Police effectiveness; Police reports
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63964

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