A Model for Managing Crime Scene Examiners

Anika Ludwig

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Police forces in the UK employ specially trained Crime Scene Examiners (CSEs) to provide forensic science support to the investigation of crime. Previous research (Bradbury and Feist 2005; Williams 2004) has shown wide variations in the management, deployment, and performance of this staff group and, as such, there is a need to develop performance indicators as a measure of effectiveness. This paper looks at the performance and management of CSEs in Durham Constabulary and discusses a model which focuses on the quality of the work of CSEs rather than the quantity of scenes visited, fingermarks lifted or DNA samples collected. Durham Constabulary focus on three main areas of performance to manage their crime scene examiners: level of activity, quality of materials collected, and the conversion of forensic materials into intelligence matches. In this paper we explore a model of performance management which demonstrates how activity measures and review processes can be implemented and utilised to provide insight into the effectiveness of forensic science. Performance management data collected from 24 CSEs over a one-year period (January to December 2011) is used to discuss the role of forensic performance measures in a scientific support unit, reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the measures collected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-90
JournalForensic Science Policy and Management
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2014


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