Principles of Evidence for Policing
Principles of Evidence for Policing provides a rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the basic principles of evidence without losing touch with its specific police perspective. Accessible, accurate, and practical, this text helps students understand the role of evidence in the justice system, the importance of collecting and preserving evidence free of taint, and basic procedures for evidence collection, including the all-important responsibilities of the first officer on the scene.
- Chapter Objectives provide clear learning outcomes for each chapter
- A Chapter Summary at the end of each chapter that lists the key points of each section
- Include a detailed glossary with definitions of key terms
- Features true or false, multiple choice, fill in the blanks, and short answer questions in each chapter
- Easy-to-understand explanations of procedures for the treatment of evidence and laws surrounding the use of evidence in court
- Instructor’s Resources
- Includes an Instructor’s Guide
About the Authors
Part I: The Fundamentals of Criminal Evidence
- Chapter 1: Proof: Introductory Concepts
- Chapter 2: Good Evidence: Relevance, Materiality, and Probative Value
- Chapter 3: Inadmissibility and Factors That Weaken Evidence
- Chapter 4: The Bloody Glove: Physical and Documentary Evidence
- Chapter 5: Oral Evidence and Witnesses
- Chapter 6: Legal Rights of Witnesses and of the Accused, and the Implications for Admissibility
- Chapter 7: Respecting Rights in the Collection of Evidence: Searches, Warrants, and Wiretaps
- Chapter 8: Interviews, Statements, and Confessions
- Chapter 9: Disclosure Obligations
- Chapter 10: Evidence Skills for Police
Part II: An Introduction to Forensic Science and the Collection of Physical Evidence
- Chapter 11: The Preservation, Collection, and Continuity of Physical Evidence
- Chapter 12: Physical Evidence and Evidentiary Value
- Chapter 13: The Investigation of Sudden Death
Appendix: RCMP Investigator’s Guide to Forensic Evidence, Second Edition
- Instructor's Guide
For free instructor resources, contact Instructor Support.
For most people, the police function that comes most readily to mind is public protection — the police are there to keep us safe. But while crime prevention is a critical goal for our police forces, the reality is that most crimes are difficult to anticipate, and the police are most frequently called in to "pick up the pieces" after a crime has occurred. As a result, the gathering of evidence, sometimes a tedious process, emerges as a common and important job function for police officers at all levels of experience and training.
Although evidence collection, especially for novice officers, consists mostly of routine tasks such as note taking, careful attention to these tasks is essential to the prosecution and conviction of offenders, which in turn supports the most important preventive tool in the police arsenal: deterrence. By demonstrating their ability to identify and support the conviction of lawbreakers, the police establish their credibility and effectiveness, bringing them closer to their goals of crime prevention and the promotion of public safety. Every police officer, from the new recruit to the senior investigator, has the opportunity to make his or her contribution to these goals through the careful collection and preservation of evidence. The value of each individual contribution depends on an understanding of the role of evidence in a criminal prosecution.
This book provides police science students with a basic workingknowledge of two important disciplines: law and forensic science. Indescribing the factors that make evidence more or less valuable for theprosecution, this book helps inform the developing judgment of novice"evidence collectors," assisting them in identifying opportunities tosupport the case against an accused, and to avoid any pitfalls thatmight weaken an otherwise promising investigation.
Part I of the book provides an introduction to trial evidence, with a focus on such issues as admissibility and reliability of evidence. Although almost anyone can collect evidence, collecting evidence that is free of taint due to coercion, mishandling, or sloppy procedures requires good judgment and a solid understanding of fundamental legal principles. On completion of this part, the student will understand the importance of collecting evidence systematically and in a way that is respectful of the rights of witnesses and the accused.
Part II introduces the student to the collection and preservation of physical evidence, and to some basic principles of forensic science. Although it is unlikely that a novice police officer will be required to undertake the systematic collection of physical evidence in a serious crime, it is important for all officers to have a working knowledge of the evidentiary potential of a crime scene, if only to create an awareness of how to avoid contaminating the evidence available. This part also underscores the importance of continuity and the maintenance of careful records with respect to evidentiary exhibits, laying a foundation for attentiveness to the recordkeeping tasks that protect collected evidence from legal challenges.
A new police recruit will likely have many years to wait before becoming involved in, for example, the collection of physical clues at a homicide scene, or the taking of an accused's confession; but it is never too early to begin bringing keen instincts and solid work habits to even the simplest evidence-gathering tasks. We hope that this book, a truly collaborative effort on the part of authors from diverse but complementary backgrounds, will assist in the development of those work skills, and will serve as the authors' own contribution to a dynamic police force and a safer society.