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Investigation of Arson - The Cleveland Experiment

NCJ Number
Police Journal Volume: 58 Issue: 2 Dated: (April-June 1985) Pages: 111-117
E H Woodward
Date Published
7 pages
The percieved need for closer interagency liaison and cooperation among the police, the fire service, and the Forensic Science Service in the effective investigation of possible arson cases led to the establishment of the Fire Investigation and Recording Experiment (FIRE).
This unit was comprised of a police sergeant as senior investigator, a fire officer, a scene of crime officer, and a scientific officer. During the trial period of the unit's operation, 59 joint investigations of fires of unknown or suspicious origin were conducted. Of these, 33 were positively identified as arson and 13 were detected. On the basis of experience and relationships established during the experiment, a Staged Fire Investigation System has been established on a permanent basis. These include the need to record and evaluate intelligence relating to fires, the value of a unified investigatory approach, the need for prompt response to reduce loss of evidence, and the utility of involving the forensic scientist when needed. The new scheme should ensure that the three services work in close liaison to achieve a highly professional and effective investigation of crimes involving arson.


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