If you are looking for Glamour, Gadgets and Grissom you won't find them here. Forget what you think you know about 'Forensics', these are the tales of one man and his brush. Of course these views do not represent the views of any Police Force or indeed reflect any Force Policies ya da ya.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


Unlike those American TV shows, where an handsomely rugged male can walk into a Crime Scene and spot the smallest piece of case-winning evidence from 30 yards causing the suspect to break down into a full on reluctant confession, the reality is sometimes less sensational and we often end up empty handed and bow our heads and shake it slightly with apologetic sorrow and say ' I'm sorry there is nothing further we can do.' This isn't always the end of an investigation, there may be other lines of enquiries which the officer will deal with.

The reaction to this news always provokes wide range of responses, some people are very understandable and appreciate you've done all you can, others will expect it and would have usually uttered the immortal line of 'Your wont find anything mate!' as I walk in the door. Some, those that live and breathe the aforementioned TV shows, are absolutely disgusted that you haven't turned up with 3 other colleagues shining pretty blue lights, swabbing anything that fails to move and given the inside of their house a nice coat of silver. This is usually followed by the idiot mantra of 'You would do it if it was a Murder!', that's because a persons life is more valuable than an Elizabeth Duke bejewelled gold Clown Necklace.

Sometimes however, you will seize anything just to avoid giving the bad news as some people clearly have the worst luck in the world and your sorrowful apology will be the final nail in the coffin. On one such occasion a house had been broken into, simple insecure point of entry, small tidy search of a few jewellery boxes and off goes the offender his pockets bulging with a few generations jewellery. As I come to end of my examination, it is clear that the offender has been wearing gloves, due to the marks found on most of the things touched. Their wasn't any other useful evidence or a single usable fingerprint developed during the exam, yet I took away a few marks (of very poor quality that would surely cause hysterics at the Fingerprint Lab).

My reason for this deception was clear, this family needed a little bit of hope because they had lost all theirs. The family, a Father and his two Daughters, had been out during the Burglary, at the hospital for a follow up appointment for one Daughter after she had surgery to remove a tumour. The news wasn't good, it had returned, they had stopped off on the way home to visit the cemetery to update their recently deceased wife and mother and then returned home to find the house broken into. Amongst the Jewellery was a wedding ring, as the Father relayed this to me, he begins to cry causing his daughters to do the same. I diligently lift a few 'marks' , explain the possibility of the offender wearing gloves, but state that I will be submitting some mark anyway in case there was more than one offender or for some reason he removed is gloves.

I think they understood the futility of my actions, but they seemed to receive the news well and thanked me for my help. I still don't know if it was the right thing to do, it did help the situation, but I couldn't help thinking that it was a bit of selfish of me to deceive them just to avoid an unpleasant situation.


Mousie said...

Don't be too hard on yourself.

It's not wrong to give people a little bit of hope in what seems like a futile situation.

Sometimes it's what they need to get them through it.

And sometimes they too realise that it's not going to be a positive outcome, but they appreciate your attempts to soften the blow for them.

Roses said...

I agree with Mousie. You were kind to them while they were particularly vulnerable.

Maybe nothing will come of it, but they will remember your small kindness. In my experience, it's always been the small kindnesses which have made the biggest differences.

gil said...

Hey Metcounty Old Fruit - Good News!

They found Paddick's wallet and you'll be pleased to know that it still had your your picture in it

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