The investigation of crime: the myths and the reality
Initially the study focussed on the factors affecting the ability of the police to solve crimes. An analysts of over twenty thousand police deployments revealed the proportion of time spent investigating crime contrasted to its perceived importance and the time spent on other activities. The fictional portrayal of skills believed important in successful crime investigation were identified and compared to the professional training and 'taught skills’ given to police and detectives. Police practitioners and middle management provided views on the skills needed to solve crimes. The relative importance of the forensic science role. fingerprint examination and interrogation skills were contrasted with changes in police methods resulting from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and its effect on confessions. The study revealed that existing police systems for investigating crime excluding specifically cases of murder and other serious offences, were unsystematic, uncoordinated, unsupervised and unproductive in using police resources. The study examined relevant and contemporary research in the United States and United Kingdom and with organisational support introduced an experimental system of data capture and initial investigation with features of case screening and management. Preliminary results indicated increases in the collection of essential information and more effective use of investigative resources. In the managerial framework within which this study has been conducted, research has been undertaken in the knowledge elicitation area as a basis for an expert system of crime investigation and the potential organisational benefits of utilising the Lap computer in the first stages of data gathering and investigation. The conclusions demonstrate the need for a totally integrated system of criminal investigation with emphasis on an organisational rather than individual response. In some areas the evidence produced is sufficient to warrant replication, in others additional research is needed to further explore other concepts and proposed systems pioneered by this study.