Introduction (Part 1)
I recently had the privilege of presenting at a range of conferences that discussed police technology, law enforcement and regulatory practices. I presented a topic titled ‘Elementising Evidence’ which in short, was a discussion of an investigation management methodology to manage investigations and evidence to ensure that the efficiency and quality of investigations is maintained. Following my presentation, the common response by audience members who approached me afterwards was to query why such a simple investigation management methodology is not implemented as standard practice.
The answer is that the craft of elementising evidence is encouraged by agencies through training but not practically implemented and supported by agency operational systems and environments. Agencies rarely create an operational environment which encourages (or dare I say it compels) investigators to manage their evidence and investigation using a ‘consistent methodology’. This results in multiple silos of investigation management methodologies which is the primary risk associated with failed, inefficient or poor quality investigation outcomes.
Agencies spend hundreds of thousands (and sometime millions) of dollars on complaint management systems and / or intelligence management systems which I acknowledge are a necessary part of law enforcement and regulatory business environments. However a fundamental issue of concern is that individual investigators are left to apply their individual knowledge and skills to work out how to ‘manage their evidence’ to achieve the investigation outcomes. Or to put it another way, the agencies take a ‘leap of faith’ that each investigator will manage their evidence and investigation in such a way that the information gathered and outcomes generated will be of the quality necessary to achieve agency strategic goals specific to investigations and their outcomes.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be discussing the investigation management methodology of elementising evidence and how, if implemented, this can significantly increase the efficiency of investigations and the quality of the investigation outcomes. This concept is based on developing and implementing investigation methods that follow the principles of good investigation management.
As to investigation methods, there may be a million and then some, but investigation management principles are few. The investigator who grasps principles can successfully select his or her own methods. The investigator who tries methods, ignoring the principles is sure to have trouble.” (Based on the comment made by Ralph Emerson, Essayist and Poet)