At the Crime Scene

At the Crime Scene

Initial Steps

  • The first officer at the scene is responsible for safeguarding and preserving life and calling for additional resources.
  • The immediate priority is the welfare of individuals, followed by the preservation of the crime scene.
  • A cordoned area should be established to prevent unnecessary contamination of the site.
  • The scene should be photographed as soon as possible in its untouched state.

Collection of Evidence

  • All objects or areas that could potentially hold evidence must be marked for later examination.
  • Any collected items must be properly packaged and labelled.
  • Trace evidence, including soil, hair, and fabric fibres, must be carefully collected.
  • Evidence should be collected using tools that won’t contaminate the item, such as tweezers, gloves, or paper bags.
  • Fingerprints and other potentially perishable evidence should be prioritised.
  • The crime scene must be searched in a systematic way to make sure that no evidence is missed.
  • Chain of custody starts at the crime scene; every piece of evidence must be documented.

Witnesses and Statements

  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed as soon as possible as memories can fade or change over time.
  • Statements should be recorded in the witness’s own words.
  • Any personal body language or emotional responses should be recorded along with the spoken statement.


  • A crime scene log should be maintained, documenting all personnel who enter and leave the scene.
  • The progress of the investigation should be continually recorded.
  • All decisions and actions should be logged to provide a transparent and accountable record of the scene investigation.
  • A crime scene report should be prepared, detailing the evidence collected and any observations made.

Leaving the Scene

  • The scene should not be released until all possible evidence has been collected and all investigative leads pursued.
  • The scene should be left as it was found, as far as possible.
  • The final decision to release the scene should be made by a senior investigator.