Challenges Encountered By Scene Of Crime Investigators: The Case Of The Directorate Of Criminal Investigations Headquarters, Nairobi
Muthini, Nyanzwii John
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Reports from Kenyan Courts show an increasing number of acquittals due to poor and/or lack of evidence from Scene of Crime Investigators. The acquittals are attributed to tampering of Scene of Crime evidence, failed prosecutions, unpunished offenders and wrongful convictions, among other reasons. This present study therefore seeks to establish challenges encountered by crime scene investigators in the course of their investigations. More specifically, it seeks to establish the methods used in retrieving and storing evidence, mode of transportation of evidence, storage of evidence and the relationship between an investigator's level of training and his/her level of success in Criminal investigations. A descriptive study design was adopted to analyze scene of Crime Investigators and to observe challenges encountered by them. A population of 153 investigating officers were targeted, from whom 111 of them were randomly selected for purposes of this study. From the study results, 51% of the respondents identified “scene of crime mapping”, 32% “bloodstain pattern analysis”, 65% “scene of crime management”, 60% “digital photography”, and 33% “latent print processing” as the main evidence collection methods used by the DCI officers. Further, 72% of the respondents cited “inadequate motor vehicles”, 50% “inadequate drivers”, 40% “inadequate security”, 46% “bad roads”, 18% “unfavorable weather conditions”, 33% “inadequate fuel” and 56% “inappropriate mode of transport for certain types of evidence” as some of the transportation related challenges faced by the DCI officers in their work. The most common evidence storage methods were identified as “use of refrigeration” at 72%, “Use of safe lockers” at 83%, “Use of paper bags” at 45% while “Use of envelops” was identified by 62% of the respondents. 31% of the respondents indicated that they had undergone training on crime scene investigations to a moderate extent. However, the officers lacked crucial training on how to handle scene of crime and the evidence collected from it. It was established that 50% of the respondents identified “the distance between the scenes of crime and where the evidence was to be stored”, 39% “bulkiness of evidence” 52% “sensitivity of evidence”, 33% “cost implications of transportation” and 51% “availability of ideal mode of transport” as the important factors that DCI officers needed to consider before choosing the mode of transportation to use. It is further concluded that 23% of the respondents identified “lack of a secure storage”, 39% destruction of collected evidence by excess heat”, 78% “prolonged court cases resulting in the contamination of evidence”, 18% “use of the same lockers leading to contamination of evidence”65% “unequipped storage facilities” and 21% “shortage of storage packaging materials”, as the main challenges faced by scene of crime investigators. It was therefore recommended that DCI investigators require more specialized training on handling, packaging, transportation and storage of scene of crime materials. They should also adopt proper transportation strategies so as to minimize damage, loss, contamination and/or exposure of evidence.
University of Nairobi
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