How Evidence Processes Came About & How It Can Make Or Break A Case

Posted on: 13th May 2023


Research Paper discussing:

How evidence processing came about

How if not done correctly can ruin a case


What police do to insure evidence is processed correctly so it's not thrown out of a case.

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How Evidence Processes Came About & How It Can Make Or Break A Case

Processing a crime scene for an investigation is a challenging task, and it demands that consistent, systematic approach for every scene and could be daunting and time-consuming. However, if a step is missed, it could lead to the evidence being dismissed, or worse, charges against an offender may be dropped. That is why an investigator should ensure they are competent in their job. Also, one should have situational awareness to ensure no incidences of evidence tampering or crime scene contamination. Evidence processing was invented during the 20th century by Edmond Locard, who is credited as the father of modern forensic science. However, the earliest application of forensic science dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman societies.

Usually, if evidence processing is not done correctly, it can ruin a case. Therefore, when an investigator reports at a crime scene, it is crucial they pay attention to everything by controlling and limiting any form of contamination as you preserve the scene as it was found (Sheppard et al. 10). According to Locard’s Exchange Principle, as an investigator, every time you initiate contact with another person, place, or thing, it causes an exchange of physical materials, contaminates the evidence gathered, and ruins a case (Mayuoni-Kirshenbaum 25). Some of the materials that a criminal may leave behind include clothing, DNA such as blood, fingernails, and another type of prints. Also, there is a high likelihood that the offender will take items from the crime scene. Hence, investigators must ensure they preserve it at all costs when they arrive at the crime scene.

After an investigator is informed of a crime, they should immediately start taking notes. Notes are vital and should be taken throughout the evidence processing since they are utilized later in a recreation of the crime scene while supporting evidence in court. In addition, notes taken from a crime scene should be thorough and not miss any vital details. Also, notes should comprise other critical pieces of information such as dates, times, addresses, locations, and the type of call together with other parties involved (Mayuoni-Kirshenbaum 25). Moreover, it is recommended that as an investigator, one should take notes of anything surrounding the area, such as if there were vehicles seen leaving the scene of crime and people who could have been around at the time of the crime and can help as witnesses. It is important to note any senses such as smells and what they hear at the crime scene.

Additionally, collecting evidence at a crime scene requires that the investigator ensure that it is safe to collect evidence before embarking on the task. Evidence processing requires that it is contained in an area that is entirely safe for the investigators so that incidences that could result in tampering or distortion of evidence are avoided. However, suppose a crime scene is in a location that poses chemical, radiological, or biological threats to the officers. In that case, an appropriate agency clears the area before investigators must step in. Therefore, scenes must be approached safely and cautiously to ensure that the safety of victims, witnesses, and other people within the surroundings are maintained. When evidence processing is done in safe scenes, it is easier to protect it from being contaminated, and it is not found to be misleading.

The police have a duty to ensure that evidence is processed correctly so that it is not thrown out of the case, and they do so by securing and controlling a crime scene. Securing and controlling a crime scene helps uphold the integrity of a crime scene while reducing incidences of contamination and alterations. Police offices restrict outside persons from moving near a crime scene while maintaining safety measures (Geberth n.p). It is possible to minimize external influences on the crime scene and ultimately preserve it. Additionally, law enforcement officers are responsible for securing and separating suspects and witnesses from the scene as they clear bystanders to avoid mix up.

 Even though bystanders could be relatives and friends to the victims, they must be kept away from the crime scene while portraying compassion and understanding of their feelings (Weber 6). Clearing bystanders and family members are critical because it helps avoid the presence of non-essential personnel such as the media people who, in most cases, try getting closer to the crime scene. It is the work of law enforcement officers to protect the location of the crime and keep such people away to preserve the integrity of a crime scene. After ensuring that the area is clean, police officers should establish a boundary (Pepper n.p). The boundary should originate from the center and extend to include the suspect’s point of exit and all the possible locations where victims or evidence to guide investigators on how the crime occurred could be found.


Works Cited

Geberth, Vernon J. Practical homicide investigation: Tactics, procedures, and forensic techniques. CRC Press, 2020.

Mayuoni-Kirshenbaum, Lina, et al. “How did the DNA of a suspect get to the crime scene? A practical study in DNA transfer during lock-picking.” Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 54.1 (2022): 15-25.

Pepper, Ian. Crime Scene Investigation: Methods And Procedures: Methods and Procedures. McGraw-Hill Education (UK), 2010.

Sheppard, K., S. J. Fieldhouse, and J. P. Cassella. “Experiences of evidence presentation in court: an insight into the practice of crime scene examiners in England, Wales and Australia.” Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences 10.1 (2020): 1-12.

Weber, David Ollier. “Crime scene investigation: hospital violence!.” Physician Leadership Journal 3.1 (2016): 6.

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