Investigators Of Bloemspruit Police Station Criminology Essay

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The author wishes to thank Mrielize Van Zyl and Jeanette Smit for the outstanding work they have done in supervising and giving guidance to the student at the distance learning. They have done their work professionally and with patience.

Acknowledgement is again made to the following family members who were supportive, morally and personally throughout the author's studies; Nelly Jamba, Portia Jamba and William Jamba. It was grateful to have them around during studies.

Not forgetting the support received from colleague Mr Ntimana who went all out day and night to see to it that author got all necessary information and also assisting through his experience.

Lastly, author wants to thank employer, Mr Ramokotjo who gave a chance to go and prepare for the exam and attending of study week.


This research has been influence by poor performance of Investigators of Bloemspruit by not archiving the required standard of performance in conviction rate due to the fact that Investigators lack training or knowledge of different methods to search crime scene.

If searching conducted correctly and professionally as prescribed in this research by different authors, Investigators of Bloemspruit Police Station will perform well in conviction rate because they will approach the scene carefully and conduct searching systematically in order to attain the purpose of searching.

I therefore conclude that if Bloemspruit Investigators can be trained and acquire the necessary knowledge, the convection rate will be high because of evidence that will be brought before court.



Cover page i

Title page ii

Acknowledgements iii

Declaration of own work iv

Abstract v

Table of Contents vi

List of tables vii


Introduction and Problem statement 1


Literature chapter 3


Empirical research 9


Conclusions and recommendations 12



List of tables

Table 1: Source 2012 Bloemspruit Resource Allocation Guide 9

Table 2: Source 2012 Bloemspruit Resource Allocation Guide 10

Table 3: Source 2012 Bloemspruit Resource Allocation Guide 10

Table 4: Source 2012 Bloemspruit Resource Allocation Guide 10


Chapter 1

Introduction and Problem Statement


Commenting on the 2011/12 crime statistical report, the parliament identified Bloemspruit as one of the most dangerous place to dwell due to the high number of serious crimes reported for the period. According to the SAPS website, it has been revealed that not only that these serious crimes are reported, but most of them end up shelved in police station archive as undetected and /or withdrawn.

Preliminary investigation to the above problem by the researcher revealed that the people who are responsible to investigate these crimes are either lacking much needed experience or training to successfully provide a lead to suspects or people responsible for crime.

As discussed by Maraise and Van Rooyen (1990:53) and Wayen and Bennet (1991:151) it is very crucial for investigators to approach the crime scene, with the clear understanding of what they are looking for and the type of crime scene search method that is appropriate for such individual crime scene.

Having understood the argument of Maraise and Van Rooyen (1990:53) and Wayen and Bennet (1991:151), it emerged that, lack of a training and experience on crime scene search method is the factor behind the low conviction rate that allow dangerous criminals to walk free from court and get opportunities to re-offend and make Bloemspruit a more dangerous place to leave.

This research will indulge or investigate the relationship between the low conviction rate and training and experience that the investigating officers of Bloemspruit have. The researcher believes that it is through this type of studies that the real problem of Bloemspruit being the most dangerous place to live can be solved. The far-reaching objective of this study therefore lies with finding a more practical solution to the

lower conviction rate of Bloemspruit police station with training and experience as a focal point of the study.


The following aspects must be kept in mind when deciding on which methods you are going to use; mobility of the scene; the time factor; manpower; application possibility; the availability of aids; the seriousness of the crime committed; the possibility that the crime may be solved; and the location of visible objects on the scene.

If wrong method is used or searching method not use at all to search crime scene, the objective of searching will not be achieved, hence this research was initiated to ensure that investigators are using these methods of searching to be successful in the searching.

Problem Statement

Investigators lack training or knowledge of different methods to search crime scene as the result they cannot use suitable method to search crime scene. It is expected of each investigator to know and understand different methods of searching crime scene so that they can achieve the objective of searching.

During the financial year 2009/10 and 2011/12 it has been the serious problem for Bloemspruit police station to attain the required standard of conviction rate (of 45%). This problem has been cause by investigators who are not trained or lack knowledge in different methods to search crime scenes.

Most dockets were withdrawn in court of law during the financial year 2009/10 and 2011/12 because of lack of lack knowledge to search crime scenes. Evidence, clues and exhibits were over looked or tempered with because of the above mention problem which resulted to acquittal of accused persons.

To overcome these, all investigator must be trained in different methods to search crime scene so that the purpose of searching can be achieved and conviction rate attained.


Chapter 2

Literature chapter

Literature Review

It is generally accepted that different crime scenes requires different approach as there is no single best crime scene method that is universal to all crime scene. As noted in Marais and Van Rooyen (1990:53), the crime investigator must determine beforehand what he wishes to accomplish and thereafter decide on suitable search method that will achieve this aim. Marais and Van Rooyen (1990:53) further emphasize that when conducting a search, aspect mobility of the crime scene, the time factor, manpower, application possibility; the possibility the crime may be solved, and the location of visible object on the scene are crucial and should be taken into one's mind.

According Marais and Van Rooyen (1990:53) the crime investigator must determine beforehand what he wishes to accomplish with search and thereafter decide on a suitable search method that will achieve this aim. In his choice of a search method he must keep the following aspects in mind: mobility on the scene; the time factor; manpower; application possibility; the availability of aids; the seriousness of the crime committed; the possibility the that crime may be solved; and the location of visible objects on the scene.

Marais and Van Rooyen (1990:54) indicate that the choice in respect of the search method is not a critical as the manner in which it is carried out. Whichever method is chosen, the search must always be carried out in a logical manner. He further introduced five more common search methods, which is the wheel search pattern, the spiral search pattern, the zone search pattern, the strip search pattern and the grid search pattern.

According to Wayne and Bennett (1991:151) investigator must know what type of evidence to search and know where evidence is most likely to be found so that they can use correct methods of searching for example, evidence is often found on or near the route use to and from the crime. The suspects may drop items used to commit the crime or leave shoe or tyre prints. Evidence is also frequently found on or near a dead body.


Wayne and Bennett (1991:151) further explain in the elephant Matchbox Doctrine requires that searchers consider the probable size and shape of evidence they seek; large objects cannot be connected in tiny areas. Ignoring this doctrine can result in an over search that leaves the place searched in a shambles.

Wayne and Bennett (1991:154) mentioned that search patterns ensure thoroughness. All search patterns have one common denominator: they are designed to systematically locate any evidence at the crime scene or any other area where evidence may be found.

Wayne and Bennett (1991:151) differentiate between exterior and interior searches. Exterior searching can cover small, large, or vast expenses. Under exterior search the following pattern can be found: lane search pattern; circle search pattern; strip search pattern; and zone search pattern. Interior searches: they mentioned that exterior search patterns can be adapted for an interior crime scene search. Of prime concern is to search thoroughly without destroying evidence.

According to Moore (2004:26) officers start by searching any outdoor area so that evidence can't be destroyed by the weather. In addition, public places have priority because they are more difficult to secure and need to be handed over more quickly. Searches of entry and exit routes often yield more evidence than peripheral areas. If a search is needed around a body before it can be removed, then that is of high priority. The following search method can be used to search crime scenes: linear search; grid search; quadrant search; spiral search.

According to Van der Westhuizen (1993:38) investigator may start at the central point of the scene and then move methodically further and further away from the point departure. Apart from the particular demands it makes an available manpower it also means that the area covered by each investigator increases progressively. Concealed and unobtrusive information will therefore be difficult to locate. This problem can be solved by combining this method with the zone method and by dividing the wheel into zone which are then searched in succession by the investigators.


Van der Westhuizen (1993:38) also mentioned the following methods that can be used to

search crime scene: the spiral method, the strip method, the grid method, the zone method and the wheel method.

According to Swanson, Charles, Neil, Chamelin and Territo (1977:43) the crime scene coordinator must decide concerning what the perimeters of the search shall be. Entrance and exit of the perpetrator must be identified and be searched properly.

Swanson and others are using five method of searching crime scene. They further mentioned that spiral search method must be used outdoors. Spiral and wheel search pattern are rarely employed as compared to other searching methods.

Spiral pattern is moving from outermost boundary to the central point. The pie or wheel pattern Investigators move from the central point towards outside boarder. The disadvantage is that the more you move towards outside boarder the area of searching becomes big and risk of missing the evidence and clues. The following five search patterns are mostly used during searching of crime scene; the spiral, the wheel, the zone, the strip and the grid search patterns.

Paul, Weston, Kenneth and Wells (1970:46) mentioned that five commonly used methods of searching crime scene must be used systematically depending on the type of crime and scene. Paul and others further mention that manpower in the police also having influence on deciding on the method to search crime scene.

Paul and others concept of 'double average in searching crime scenes is valuable as double check for evidence, but it frequently results in conflicting testimony by searching officers'.

When large area is to be searched, investigators must be grouped in teams and each team must be assigned responsibilities prior to the searching, the investigator surveys the scene noting its dimensions and whether there is an adjacent entry and exit area. Traditionally, systematic searching has utilized the following systems:


- A point to point movement following a chain of objects obviously evidence

- An ever-widening circle technique in which the searching offer starts at the focal point of the same or the centre of the security area and works outwards by circling in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction until the fringes of the protected area are reached.

- A sector search in which the scene is subdivided into segments and each sector is searched as an individual unit.

Outdoor crime scene are usually searched through the following methods; zone sector, strip and grid.

The ability to discover and recognize evidence at crime scene is a prerequisite to successful searching.

Thomas (1977:46) stipulates that if the crime scene is indoors, the searching plan will naturally be dictated by the size of the room and its contacts. The unlimited variety of indoors situations precludes systematic division.

Thomas (1977:46) also mentions five commonly used methods of searching crime scene. He mentioned that the choice of method is not too important since the essential elements of success in implementing any of the suggested schaws are the alterness, knowledge, and experience of the participating investigator.

James and Scott (1978:73) stipulate that crime scene must be searched thoroughly and methodically. Random searching is the poorest of all because it follows no orderly pattern. James and Scott further mentioned that the investigator enter the crime scene and walks to the first point of interest. When that has been examined, he proceeds to the next point of interest. James and Scott also emphasize the fact of using the five most used searching methods.


A strip search of a crime scene is the examination of narrow stripes or panels of ground which extend the full length of each area. This method must not be confused with the strip

search of a person in which all cloth are removed and examined. Strip search can be applied indoors and outdoors and the advantage is that it can be operated by small or large group of investigators.

One technique may be called the double revere strip search because two things are reversed: direction of the search and the investigator searching the scene.

The grid search techniques follow the imagination or pre-existing lines. With grid search, two strip searches are counted, the second at the right angle to the far. It allows the searcher to examine the scene from a new direction the second time.

Kenneth and Gaddord (1977:147) author emphasize the five commonly used searching methods. Wall search method is a modification of strip search procedure. This method tends to be publically oriented.

Inward wheel pattern is the list effective of the fourth particular in large area. The tendency is to concentrate at the centre and miss the evidence to the outside. Inwards spiral pattern is moving from outside - to inwards.

All the above mentioned researchers are in agreement with these methods of searching crime scenes and the utilization of these different methods of searching. Advantages and disadvantages of each method is pointed out that is why it is so important that all investigators attend courses of method to search crime scene.

The researcher therefore agrees with all previous researchers that we have five more commonly used methods of searching crime scene. The very important issue is that all investigators must be trained or on-the-job training must also be implemented.

During the inspection of personal files and developmental files of each investigator it was clear from the researcher that members are not yet trained in making use of different methods of searching.


Investigators were individually interviewed as to establish their availability and willingness to be trained on these methods and they showed interest.

According to the researcher's knowledge, if crime scenes are not properly searched valuable evidence will not be collected. The searching of crime scene must be conducted carefully and systematically. Management must therefore ensure that all investigators are taken to this course and by doing that the problem of searching crime scene will be solved.


Chapter 3

Empirical research

The constitution of South Africa provide that the objectives of the South African Police Service are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of South Africa and their properties and to uphold and enforce the law. The main objective of the detective service is to ensure the effective investigation of crime.

The work of investigators is to investigate crime, and collect evidence and to arrest and bring perpetrators before court of law. For investigators to be successful in this, they must be developed by giving them relevant courses. Searching crime scene is one of developmental courses that are relevant for investigators.

The research design used is quantitative. The station of Bloemspruit consists of 36 investigators as illustrated below:




















Table 1 - Source 2012 Bloemspruit Resource Allocation Guide

The unit of analysis in this research is all trained and untrained investigators of Bloemspruit police station. These encompass investigators of all races, age groups and gender.

The station Bloemspruit consists of at least 36 investigators. All investigators are literate and suitable for this research. Due to this small population (36) the researcher involves all the investigating officers at the station. The population of the respondent in this research is diverse and representative of all the age group, gender and races as illustrate below:



























Table 2 - Source 2012 Bloemspruit Resource Allocation Guide









Table 3 Source 2012 Bloemspruit Resource Allocation Guide

Thirty six (36) investigators were interviewed and it was established that only six (6) investigators were trained on different methods to search crime scene and thirty (30) investigators where untrained as illustrated below:









Table 4 Source 2012 Bloemspruit Resource Allocation Guide

All six trained investigators are warrant officers, three white male and three black male. Personal files of investigators were inspected and it confirmed the interview with the investigators that only six investigators were trained.


From table 4 above it is clear why Bloemspruit investigators were not performing well in the conviction rate in the financial year 2009/10 - 2011/12. It is very crucial that all investigators must be taken to the training of method to search crime scene.


Training is not obligatory for station level detectives; basic courses are usually completed after the member has become a detective. Investigators said they did not get any specialized training during the course of their work with a unit. They further said that the past investigator course were far too theoretical where good theory was taught, new investigators were often unable to apply this knowledge. The current investigators course is the integrated one. It includes many short courses and workshop like methods to search crime scene and crime scene management.

I therefore conclude that all Bloemspruit investigators must as a matter of urgent are taken to the course of methods to search crime scene.


Chapter 4

Conclusions and recommendations


From the research conducted here above I come to the conclusion that Bloemspruit investigators where under performing on the conviction rate due to the fact that majority of its investigators were not trained on the different methods to search crime scene hence conviction rate was very low.

It is also not easy to place thirty investigators on-the-job training because only six investigators were trained. The issue of training of investigators has dragged the name of Bloemspruit and South African Police Services under disrepute.


From the conclusion here above it is clear that the situation of Bloemspruit investigators cannot be left unattended because it affect the service negatively and the community lose trust on the police because of withdrawal and acquittal of accused perpetrators in court of law. Hence the author is recommending that all untrained investigators must be taken to training of methods to search crime scene.

It is further recommended that investigators must be send to training in at least group of five so that the service delivery does not suffer completely because of absence of investigators