Major UK Police Investigations

What are the key features which distinguish a complex criminal investigation from a routine one?

.Identify three major UK Police Investigations and describe why you consider them to be complex criminal investigations.


Features in Criminal Investigation

            All examinations start with pre-arrest investigations to determine whether a crime was committed and whether the perpetrator should be arrested. As the first legal action to be carried out by a detective upon arriving on the crime scene, s/he must find evidences to proof that a felony was committed. Customarily, a criminal investigation involves searching, interviewing, questioning, and collecting evidence, and preserving data collected in readiness for criminal trials. In the criminal realm, a criminal investigation is meant to achieve a three to five-fold aim. Through criminal investigation, the investigator determines if a crime was committed, s/he identifies the perpetrator, locates the guilty party, arrests the suspect, and provides evidence to be used as the basis of conviction or proof of guilt after arraignment. Detectives must investigate the circumstances surrounding the crime and the victim’s involved. A detective should not depict task skills because investigations need tactical investigative approaches. Investigators must reckon that crime examination is a multifaceted, problem-solving challenge that needs apposite training, experience and critical thinking. Before embarking on an investigation, detectives should devise investigative plans that will help in crime detection.           

            Even though complex crime investigations and routine investigations need personnel vast with forensic studies, criminology, and crime studies, complex investigators take specialisms to carry out defined investigations.  Complex investigators majorly deal with complex crimes whereby perpetrators commit wrongs as a means to commit another offense (Salet, 2017). Complex investigations have to deal with serious multifaceted allegations such as manslaughter, duty evasions, drug or human trafficking, homicide, genocide, amongst others.  Complex investigations come in where weapons and firearms were used, and violence was involved, unjustified financial gain, and sexual assaults that resulted in emotional trauma. Often, complex crime investigators have to use transnational evidence gathering to deal with dispersed geographic and functional operations (Salet, 2017). Unlike routine investigations, which are repeated, complex crime investigators target multiple victims while using special investigative techniques such as undercover operations, sophisticated forms of surveillance, and electronic evidentiary procedures.

           Routine crime investigations are based on a repeated activity approach (Schreck, 2017). Routine investigators have to fetch for a motivated offender or manipulated crime. Emphasizing, routine investigations are proactive (Schreck, 2017).  Routine investigation applies most when to safety and security are compromised, initial risk assessment, oversight or protection of business, property cases, and family cases.

           One example of a complex investigation in the United Kingdom involved Peter Sutcliffe, also referred to as the “Yorkshire Ripper. “ He was a serial killer. His case was marred by corruption, misdirected investigations, and justice gaps, which compromised trials and conviction (Wattis, 2018). As a result, there was a sheer quantity of information that police were unable to process. The second complex crime investigation involves Irish Traveller groups in the construction industry involved in labor trafficking (Cockbain and Brayley-Morris, 2018).  Consistent with police investigations, some of the victims were forcefully recruited; poor working conditions were reminiscent of abuse, violence, and neglect. The victims experienced molestation and labor exploitation. The last UK Police Investigations concentrated on organized crime. The investigation focused on examining modern slavery, human trafficking, and gangmaster offenses in the west midlands of England (Middleton, Antonopoulos, and Papanicolaou, 2019). From the police report, perpetrators made huge sums of money from slavery and sex trafficking (Oldham, 2021). Perpetrators used to traffick people from other countries. Victims were forced to work for poor pay under the threat of violence (Dando, Walsh, and Brierley, 2016). Others were forced to work illegally against their will. West midlands police investigated many Handsworth men on suspicion of sex trafficking and exploitation (West Midlands Police, n.d.).

Reference list

Cockbain, E. and Brayley-Morris, H., 2018. Human trafficking and labour exploitation in the casual construction industry: an analysis of three major investigations in the UK involving Irish traveller offending groups. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice12(2), pp.129-149.

Dando, C.J., Walsh, D. and Brierley, R., 2016. Perceptions of psychological coercion and human trafficking in the West Midlands of England: Beginning to know the unknown. PloS one11(5), p.e0153263.

Middleton, B., Antonopoulos, G.A. and Papanicolaou, G., 2019. The financial investigation of human trafficking in the UK: legal and practical perspectives. The Journal of Criminal Law83(4), pp.284-293.

Oldham, J., 2021. Police uncover 600 modern slavery offences -with gangs making £2m. BirminghamLive.

Salet, R., 2017. Framing in criminal investigation: How police officers (re) construct a crime. The police journal90(2), pp.128-142.

Schreck, C.J., 2017. Routine activity theory. In Preventing Crime and Violence (pp. 67-72). Springer, Cham.

Wattis, L., 2018. Revisiting the Yorkshire Ripper Murders. Springer International Publishing.

West Midlands Police, n.d. Man charged with human trafficking offences. West Midlands Police.