9 September 2013

It's not the message that keeps you here

I'm tired. Weird, sometimes, when the first day back leaves you more tired than the rest of the week.

Still, I think...hope...I've got Thursday off. Just me and the husband, for an entire (school-length) day ;)

Anyway, RSF asked about the difference between an outer and inner cordon (for bread making...but usually for a crime scene.

Well, in Sherlock's words: "The outer one is blue and the inner one is red and says inner cordon."

There...what more do you need to know?

But seriously. Depending on the situation, we can have up to four 'cordons' - vehicle, outer, inner and crime scene. Usually we have outer, inner, scene.

The outer cordon is for the public. We stop the general public getting past a certain point, for various reasons. They get in the way. They see disturbing things. If we have to arrest someone at the scene they could potentially be in danger. We can't control lots of people if we also have witnesses to protect/isolate. Etc.

Also, we usually have a fleet of vehicles by the time we're all there. Forensics vans, original responding officer vehicles. Ambulances. Meat wagons. My car ;). Sometimes Fire engines. And we don't like people touching our stuff. Or stealing the contents. So we park them inside the outer cordon, if needs be. But generally, anyone we like can trample about in there and not compromise the scene.

The inner cordon is like, invite only. So most plod won't get in there, and often we'll want people to be getting into/out of their crime scene clothing (the paper suits, over shoes, gloves) in that area. It'll be where the emergency services usually co-ordinate, away from earwigging press and public.

And then we have the crime scene. Very strictly controlled. At that point we usually have these stepping stones that we put down, so none of us walk on the floor. We try to very clearly indicate where the first responders went, and follow that path, so we don't contaminate anything else.

After we've established there is nothing that can be done to help the victim (or if they've been carted off to hospital), and we're sure it's safe, we'll get everything photographed, sketched, noted, swabbed, sampled, then removed and recorded.

Every time you cross a cordon it's recorded. We know where everyone at the scene was all the time.

Of course, being the emergency services, everything has a million acronyms. The most amusing seem to be saved for the most serious circumstances. I don't know who they pay to come up with it all.

But basically, if the Fire Brigade say IMIP, and the Ambulance service say METHANE.... then we have to think SAD CHALET.

No, not making it up...

Anyway, today, went to prison, spoke to a 'friend' of a suspect.

Went to arrest suspect, who, while we restrained and cuffed him, screamed police brutality. Then when we put him in my car to wait for the van to pick him up, proceeeded to bash his head against the window, leading to blood everywhere. Fantastic start to the week.


rsf said...

Well, I suppose you can pronounce "Sad Chalet" even if it's not at all obvious what that might work out to in... y'know... English.

Thank you for your explanation of all the cordons and things. It's fascinating, really, and makes me wish that kind of care got used with more things. Years ago I got burgled, and the burgler came up the front stairs through a door I never ever used. (I came up the back stairs.) But the cop who came wouldn't even pretend to look at the clearly visible fingerprints on doorknob on the excuse that even if he found any they'd be disregarded in court because the lawyers would try to say that the guy who left them behind could have had a legitimate reason to be there.

Hmm. Guess I'm still annoyed.

Anyway, I'm far more impressed by your methods. And so is Sherlock, by the sound of it.

Greg Lestrade said...

Were they stairs other people could have got to? Or were they within your house?

I mean, what I described there is for a major incident. We don't have the resources to do nearly as much for other cases.

rsf said...

The stairs were within the building. My apartment was on the third floor, with two possible ways up to it. And normally, the main door of the building was kept locked. I had to go down to the main door to meet any deliveries. So no, I wouldn't think anyone had a legitimate reason to be on my front stairs.

I know it isn't possible to do go the whole distance for every case, in my head. But it still seemed sloppy not to collect obvious evidence. Especially since there had been a whole string of burglaries in the neighborhood!

Greg Lestrade said...

Yeah, I know what you mean.

It would have been useful if they had other similar evidence, or a strong suspect so they could then use the evidence to strengthen a case.

Otherwise, his brief would just have him say he thought his friend lived there, he was there weeks ago, he tried the door and left when he realised no one was in, that sort of thing. Because it's an area anyone could have got to without committing a criminal act (at least in this country). Alone it wouldn't have got anywhere near court here. But it could have formed part of a larger case.

pandabob said...

Thanks for the cordon explanation Greg, its always interesting to learn about how your job works :-)

Sorry you had such an 'interesting' day, I hope sleep is good to you later :-)

John H. D. Watson said...

Looking forward to Thursday...

Greg Lestrade said...

AnonyBob - no problem. Nice to have something to talk about that one or two of you might be interested in! Paperwork just isn't good for blogging.

Danger - when are you on shift next? And when are you meeting Dr Feelgood?

REReader said...

Those acronyms have me completely baffled!

I hope the rest of the week improves.

How did Sherlock's bread come out?

John H. D. Watson said...

Tomorrow for Dr F and Wednesday for work, 7am to 7pm.

Greg Lestrade said...

I'll see if I can forewarn my lot that I might need to do a school run.

RR - want to remain baffled? Or want me to tell you what they are?

REReader said...

It seems safe to ask, so I'd like to know, please! ;)

Greg Lestrade said...

It is really quite boring, and very safe, yeah.

Fire Brigade is 'Initiate Major Incident Procedure'

Ambulance is Major Incident declared/Exact location/Type of incident/Hazards present/Access routes/Numbers of casualties/Emergency services.

Ours is Survey/Assess/Disseminate/Casualties/Hazards/Access and egress/Location/Emergency Services and Evacuation/Types/Start a log and Safety - actually sadchalets... lots of sad miserable chalets.

Seems deeply unfair ours is so much bigger than the LFB's!

REReader said...

*blink*. LFB?

At least your acronym makes sense!

rsf said...

That's not just an acronym, that's a flippin' checklist!


As for my ancient burglary, the door I wanted him to look at was inside a building that should have been locked, and only the residents and their invited guests (and at the time, that was three people) should have ever been able to reach it. Besides, they'd jimmied the lock. You could see the marks on the door jamb. Ah, well. I'm just glad I wasn't home at the time.

Has Sherlock plans to do yet more baking tomorrow?

Greg Lestrade said...

London Fire Brigade, RR.

RSF - it's the 'should have' part that wouldn't stand up in court. If the outer door wasn't ever damaged, it shows, at the least, that it was possible to get into the building without committing any crime. (Although I've no idea what your trespass laws are like.) It wouldn't get to court here if that was the only evidence. But it could have potentially been used to further a case. When I walked a beat and we had strong suspicions about a burglar in a particular area we'd follow them - resources permitting - until either we caught them, or a burglary with the same MO was carried out whilst our suspect was under surveillance, so they got crossed off the list.

Piplover said...

I'm sorry the day wasn't that great, Lestrade. I hope you have a peaceful night. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit less exciting.

I remember when I was a lot younger, probably in my early teens, I got to ride along with my cousin, who's a detective.

It was a fun time, even it it consisted mainly of watching my cousin do paperwork, because I got to go to a crime scene and watch them do a drugs search.

Greg Lestrade said...

Thanks - and yes, mainly paperwork! Maybe next post I'll tell you how many forms I have to fill in having arrested someone! (or check, whenever my officers arrest someone)

Off to bed...

...might make the Christmas cake on Thursday...

rsf said...

Ah, paperwork. I think sometimes that they invent new forms just to see whether or not the people who have to fill them in will dare to say anything.

L, I don't know if they jimmied the street lock -- I didn't look at it, and that door jamb was a mess anyway -- the landlord replaced it after my break-in. And I still think if they'd found fingerprints they could have at least checked to see if they belonged to someone who was already in the database. Might have reinforced someone else's case, even if it wasn't mine. And I think there'd be fewer false convictions (at least in this country) if we relied more on methodically collected physical evidence.

Ah, well, if wishes were horses we'd all need bigger shovels.

Are any of the things you've grown at the allotment appropriate for your Christmas cake?


piplover said...

RSF - the Army has a form to fill out when the plans have been changed more than 10 times. That is one thing I don't miss!

Joolz said...

That was a really interesting description, Greg, thanks for filling us in, honestly where would we all be without the dreaded acronyms. ;)
Sorry you had such a trying first day back, hopefully today will be better.

Hope you day goes well, John, and your notes impress Dr Feelgood, which I'm sure they will of course. :)

Are you going to take some nice fresh rolls for your lunch at school today, Sherlock, hope they're delicious.

Have a great day everyone. :)

Greg Lestrade said...

RSF - that's what I meant about furthering a case. Useful for that, not useful in court. So they would have decided on a cost/benefit if it was worth collecting that evidence. If they already basically knew who it was but needed to catch them, it wouldn't be worth the money. If they didn't, and the person was on file, it could have been a breakthrough. Who knows? Also depends when it happened and how their fingerprint bureaux worked at the time.

lindentreeisle said...

Then when we put him in my car to wait for the van to pick him up, proceeeded to bash his head against the window, leading to blood everywhere.

Ha, and I'm sure by the time the case gets to court he'll be claiming you beat him up and his attorney will accuse you of lying in the police report, because who would beat their own head bloody against a window? I am always telling defense attorneys: man, you have no idea, some people are just dumb and/or crazy. (Any idea which it was here?)

Anonymous said...

Do police cars in Britain have cameras as in the US? I've seen security videos facing both directions (forward to capture traffic stops, backward to capture suspects in the back seat), so any injury is caught on camera.

In fact, a cop in Tennessee was recently arrested for watching videos of an illegal variety on the computer IN HIS PATROL CAR. Because everyone knows nobody monitors police computers. *bangs head against desk*


Greg Lestrade said...

Ella - some do. Traffic always have camera pointing forward, at least. Mine doesn't have any, because I don't normally put people I've arrested in it, but he was so out of control we needed to confine him.

rsf said...

Do you have a special place to clean the interior of the cars? Because I can imagine the looks on people's faces if you went to a regular car wash.

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