In the previous article in this series, ‘The Golden Hour’ we looked at the crucial steps to take within the first hour after finding a body.
The Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) and Crime Scene Manager (CSC) will now enter the crime scene together, in protective wear, after agreeing a plan of action. It would be very unusual for the SIO not to undertake a walkthrough of the scene at all.
Let’s take a step back for a minute and take a look at the kit. This article will help us visualise what protective wear our SIO and CSC are decked out in, and we can take a look at the kit the CSC is working with.
What is Worn at a Crime Scene?
It is a myth that detectives show up to a murder scene in their trench coats and walk right in. No matter your rank, every permitted person onto a crime scene must wear the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
In the image below our SIO is kitted out in overalls, face mask, gloves and booties. Once the visitor to the scene is done, all PPE is collected back in. This way, if there is any contamination on the PPE, we can refer back to it.
The purpose of wearing PPE is obviously so that we prevent contamination of evidence, but it also protects the visitor from being harmed by hazardous materials. It should also be comfortable – those collecting evidence could be working in the suit for a long time.
If you want to read up a bit more on PPE worn at a crime scene, below are a couple of businesses that specifically sell crime scene PPE. For example, some evidence collectors wear a utility belt!
The Forensics Kit
Below is a list of the kind of kit the forensics team will bring with them to a crime scene:
Bags: When a body is taken from the scene it could have special bags over the hands, feet and head before an inner bag covers the body, followed by the black body bag we see in films
Barrier Tape/ Crime Scene Tape: Cordons off the crime scene or scenes
Crime-Lite Kit: A bit like a torch but with lots of different light attachments of differing colours and wavelengths, for use on different kinds of surfaces
DNA Collection Kit: Sterile swabs, distilled water, swab tubes, scalpels and tweezers
Evidence Collection Supplies: Paper (dry material is collected in folded paper), polythene bags, knife tubes (for collecting sharp objects like knives and syringes), Ziploc bags (various sizes), pill boxes
Fingerprinting Kit: Fine hair brushes, dusting powder, lifting tape, magnifying glass, ink pad and lifting cards
First Aid Kit
Footwear Casting Kit: A bit like Plaster of Paris, for making moulds of footprints, mixing bowl/tub, spatula
Gloves: Latex, heavy and anti-cut
Goggles/ Face Shield
Labels: Every item is individually bagged and labelled
Marking Flags: For flagging up evidence to be collected
Measuring Tape and Wheel
Notepad and Pen
Photography Kit: Camera (high quality), lens cleaner, a-frame markers, tripod
Reflective Marking Chalk
Toolkit: A standard set, e.g. a screwdriver might be needed to take off a door handle for evidence, hammers, saw, bolt cutters, wrench etc
Tool mark Casting Kit: Like the footprint casting kit
For more specialist searches extra items/requirements may include:
Entomology Collection Kit
Fire Scene Kit
Forensic Archaeology Kit
Ground Penetrating Radar
Finally I would really recommend watching this 5 minute video from a West Midlands Police Crime Scene Coordinator, to see some of the PPE and kit in action:
I hope this article was useful for you to understand a little more about what sort of kit is involved at the scene of a murder, so that you can write your crime story with a bit more confidence.
Stay tuned for more articles in the Crime Scene Series!