Investigation order and major crime inquiries

Authored by: Martin Innes

Handbook of Criminal Investigation

Print publication date:  May  2007
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843921882
eBook ISBN: 9780203118177
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308246


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Investigation is an act in three ‘movements’. Whether we are concerned with a specific investigative activity, or a more complex investigative process comprising connected practices and lines of inquiry, these three inter-related movements are always present. The first movement involves ‘identifying and acquiring’ that which forms the basis of an investigation. The key task is to separate out what is relevant to the particular concerns of an individual investigation from that which is potentially available, but not relevant. This process of identifying and acquiring informs the second movement of the act, which is ‘interpreting and understanding’. Interpreting and understanding is where information is translated into intelligence or knowledge. This phase involves inferences and hypotheses being constructed and the particular piece of information being fitted together with other things that are known. The third movement of investigation is ‘ordering and representing’ the information in a way that warrants the interpretations and understanding that have been constructed. This is about configuring new knowledge with extant knowledge held by the investigator(s) in a format that enables a solution to the question that is the focus of the investigation to be established and communicated. This may involve communication as evidence, or as a narrative suitable for wider cultural consumption.

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