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Fingerprints || Part 1 || Introduction

Crime Scene Processing

Dr. Bhoopesh Kumar Sharma
Forensic Expert & Associate Professor

Crime Scene Processing is a complex process involve several steps like securing a crime scene, recording the crime scene, searching for the evidences, collection of the evidences, and cleaning up the crime scene. It takes great attention to detail and nuance to process a crime scene. Appropriate steps must be taken in chronological order to preserve proof. There are several people involved in the crime scene processing:

  • Team Leader 
  • Photographer and Photographic Log Recorder 
  • Sketch Preparer & Notes Taker
  • Evidence Recorder/Evidence Recovery Personnel
  • Specialists

Team Leader (Investigating Officer)

  1. Taking power-ensuring personnel health and on-site security. Ensure that personnel use adequate protective equipment and follow standard guidelines to protect them from any health hazards that may result from blood or other human body fluid.
  2. Conduct initial walk-through for purposes of making a preliminary survey, evaluating potential evidence, and preparing a narrative description. 
  3. Determine search patterns, and make appropriate assignments for team members. 
  4. Designate command post location and ensure exchange of information between search and investigative personnel. 
  5. Coordinate with other law enforcement agencies and make sure a cooperative spirit is maintained. 
  6. Ensure that sufficient supplies and equipment are available for personnel. 
  7. Control access to the scene and designate an individual to log everyone into the scene. 
  8. Continuously re-evaluate efficiency of search during entire course of operation. 
  9. Release the scene after a final survey and inventory 

Photographer and Photographic Log Recorder

1.     Photograph entire area before it is entered. 
2.     Photograph victims, crowd, and vehicles. 
3.  Photograph entire scene with overall, medium and     close-up coverage, using measurement scale when appropriate.
4. Photograph major evidence items before they are moved; coordinate this effort with Sketch Preparer, Evidence Recorder, and Evidence Recovery Personnel. 
5. Photograph all latent fingerprints and other impression evidence before lifting and casting are accomplished. 
6. Prepare photographic log and photographic sketch. 

Sketch Preparer

  1. Prepares the rough and the finished sketches of the crime scene and the evidences
  2. Ascertains the direction of each evidence in the sketch
  3. Indicate the inter-relationship of all the evidences in the sketch.
  4. Diagram immediate area of scene and orient diagram with sketch. 
  5. Set forth major items of evidence on sketch. 
  6. Designate and label areas to be searched and advise team leader and all other search members of nomenclature for designated areas. 
  7. Obtain appropriate assistance for taking measurements and double check measurements. 
  8. Ensure necessary administrative information, such as scale disclaimer (not drawn to scale), is recorded on sketch. 

Evidence Recorder/Custodian

  1. Have significant evidence photographed before collection. 
  2. Describe evidence and its location on appropriate bag or envelope. 
  3. Sign and date evidence container/maintain chain of custody. 
  4. Appropriately collect and package evidence to maximize evidence integrity. 
  5. Maintain evidence log. 
  6. Use appropriate protective equipment (gloves) and methods when dealing with potentially infective evidence (blood). 


It is sometimes necessary to bring in expert on the crime scene. The field of forensic science is so broad today that variety of evidences may require different specialist to process the evidences.  Typically, specialists are brought in from forensic labs, industry, the academic community, private scientific laboratories, and similar concerns. Specialists should be identified before they are needed in an actual case. A current list should be maintained, if possible. The agency should meet with these individuals to determine the best manner to jointly conduct search planning, operations, and follow-up activity.

The following list provides examples of specialty assistance to be considered 
(it is not meant to be completely inclusive):
·      Anthropologist
·      Blood Pattern Analyst 
·      Bomb Technician 
·      Criminalist
·      Engineer
·      Entomologist
·      Medical Examiner 
·      Odontologist
·      Surveyor
·      Ballistic Expert

Following are the steps in brief to be considered while processing the crime scene:

Approach Scene 
Secure and Protect Scene 
Initiate Preliminary Survey 
Evaluate Physical Evidence Possibilities 
Prepare Narrative Description 
Photograph Scene 
Prepare Diagram/Sketch of Scene 
Conduct Detailed Search/Record and Collect Physical Evidence 
Conduct Final Survey 
Release Crime Scene 


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