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NCJ Number
Police Studies Volume: 15 Issue: 4 Dated: (Winter 1992) Pages: 175-178
G R Markham
Date Published
4 pages
This article describes the structure and operation of a British team of police assigned to investigate allegations of police evidence tampering.
A man charged with the murder of a police constable was convicted based largely on police notes made in interviews with the suspect. The suspect did not read nor sign the interview notes. Some 4 years after the conviction, a well- respected and reputable forensic handwriting and document examiner retained by the defendant's attorneys examined the interview notes and questioned their legitimacy. Based on the report, the Home Secretary appointed this article's author, an assistant chief constable, to head an inquiry. Two police investigators were initially selected for the team, and police premises were used as team headquarters. The team set time schedules and meticulously kept to them. The inquiry was completed in the 8 weeks allotted. The team was extended to seven members based upon task demands. The team was careful to maintain an objective and professional inquiry based upon police investigative principles. The advantages of using a police team for the investigation were the availability of police resources, the use of experienced investigators, and the cooperation received from police personnel interviewed in the investigation. The final report, which had the support of all team members, went against the officers in charge of the case at issue. The effort is viewed as an example of a professional and balanced police inquiry into the behavior of fellow officers.