1.<Tab/>How Far Is The Investigation Of Crime An 'art' And How Far Is It A 'science'?

1522 words - 6 pages

IntroductionInvestigating criminal offences is one the most important aspects of law enforcement. Once a crime is reported to the police, investigators have several responsibilities to work towards solving the crime. This includes gathering documents, evidence and information from various sources. For the most part, the roots of criminal investigation can be traced back to England in the eighteenth century, a time period marked by numerous social, political and economic changes. These changes were catalysts in the creation of the first modem detective force, these being the Bow Street Runners. In addition, London was the home of the first police reformer, Robert Peel. Both of these contributions later became important in the development of police organizations and criminal investigation in the United States. (Swanson, Chamelin & Territo 2003) As this essay is concerned with the concept of criminal investigation I plan to look into the different aspects and methods of the subject. I will pay particular attention to the developments that have taken place as well as the idea of criminal investigation being an art and science.Criminal InvestigationWhile it can be said that good investigative work does not significantly reduce crime by itself, the investigation of any crime places significant responsibilities upon the investigator. Successful investigators should possess essential qualities such as good communications skills, strong ethics, initiative, resourcefulness and compassion. Investigators also have a responsibility to ensure that crimes are investigated effectively and thoroughly. In addition to conducting complete preliminary and follow-up investigations, understanding the importance of physical evidence in a criminal investigation is a key element of this responsibility. (Field & Pelser 1998)Within the criminal investigation process, investigators and detectives frequently use various scientific methods to help identify suspects, evidence, and collect information, all of which is used to convict criminal offenders. Investigators and detectives draw from diverse disciplines such as geology, physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics, to study physical evidence related to crime.The science of geoforensics - using particles of rock, dirt or soil to help solve a crime - is now one of the most frequently used methods at the start of any police investigation. But the practice is based not on the brainchild of any university professor or crime expert, but in fiction - the character of Sherlock Holmes. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3182941.stm)DevelopmentsWhen looking at the role of a criminal investigator over the last twenty years, it is clear to see one of the most obvious changes is in the use of technology. While detectives in the 1980s had limited computer access, computers are now at every level of the police department. The emergence of the internet has also opened the doors for criminals to form networks and to plan...

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