Incident Scene Preservation Awareness for Security Staff

Some Basics

The following information is an awareness raising advisory for any person and particularly security staff, to enable a basic understanding of the value of scene preservation, and assist government agency first responders in their subsequent action and investigation.

Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as silent evidence against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibre’s from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects – all these and more bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong; it cannot perjure itself; it cannot be wholly absent. Only its interpretation can err. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value.

Kirk, Paul, Crime investigation, John Wiley & Sons Canada, Limited, 1953

1. Understand the value of physical evidence

Physical evidence when handled properly is the best form of information for Government agencies.   The value of that evidence can be destroyed if the scene or chain of custody has been tampered with by unaware persons.

2. Initial Response

The initial response by persons on scene can help to preserve the integrity of any potential evidence (unless more serious lifesaving action is required) by not touching or moving objects, not walking around the scene, and controlling access to the immediate area until Government agencies arrive.

 3. Health & Safety Considerations

Health & Safety is the most important issue at the scene.  If a persons health and safety is at risk, the priority is to remove yourself from the scene to a safe location, and warn responding personnel about the risks.

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