Preservation and Recovery of Evidence

Preservation and Recovery of Evidence

Importance of Evidence Preservation

  • Evidence preservation is critical in maintaining the integrity of an investigation.
  • It prevents the loss, alteration, or contamination of evidence, which could compromise the case.
  • Strong forensic practices can lend credibility and reliability to the judicial process.
  • Swift and accurate preservation can aid in identifying and locating the suspect more efficiently.

Techniques for Preservation

  • Securing the scene immediately upon discovery is a basic and fundamental step in evidence preservation.
  • Physical barriers, such as tape or cones, are used to keep unauthorised individuals out.
  • Only necessary personnel should be allowed into the scene to prevent contamination.
  • A crime scene log should be maintained to record all individuals who come in and out of the scene.

Recovery of Evidence

  • Evidence is recovered from the crime scene by trained forensic specialists using appropriate collection tools.
  • Use of gloves and face masks can prevent the transfer of the investigators’ DNA to the evidence.
  • More delicate types of evidence, such as fingerprints or trace materials, should be collected using specific forensic tools and techniques.
  • Objects with potential evidence should be packaged individually to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Photographic documentation of the evidence in its original location provides a visual record of the scene.

Packaging and Transport

  • Each piece of evidence should be placed in a new, clean container for transport.
  • Containers must be properly sealed, labelled and accompanied by a chain of custody form when transported.
  • The integrity of the seal should never be compromised; this includes not opening sealed evidence unless necessary and in a controlled environment.

Storage and Examination

  • Evidence should be stored in a secure, environmentally-controlled area.
  • Lab examination should be done in a systematic manner and all observations should be carefully documented.
  • Re-examination might be necessary, so preservation of the evidence condition throughout the process is crucial.

Final Consideration

  • Knowledge on preservation and recovery of evidence will help to provide reliable, unbiased and uncontaminated result in forensic studies.
  • It is critical that these procedures are done correctly to render the evidence admissible in court.