Crime Scene Series: The Kit

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!

CSI Equipment – Protective Clothing

Safariland – Crime Scene Apparel

 

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

Flashlight

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

PPE

Reflective Marking Chalk

Safety Helmets

Scales

Stepping Plates

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

Traffic Cones

 

For more specialist searches extra items/requirements may include:

Biohazard Kit

Entomology Collection Kit

Fire Scene Kit

Forensic Archaeology Kit

Ground Penetrating Radar

Magnets

Maps

Metal Detectors

Scuba Gear

Sniffer Dogs

 

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!

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