In what could infuse greater professionalism into investigation, protection of crime scene and its reconstruction, Karnataka is set to have a separate cadre of ‘scene of crime officers’, a first in the country.
The pool will create resources who specialise in identification, collection and preservation of evidence at the scene of crime, and identifying, recording and collecting evidence at the crime scene. The officers will have an equivalent rank of police sub-inspector and will be part of the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratories. Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will give an official order on Tuesday to recruit 206 officers.
At present, it is only in sensational cases that forensic experts from the FSL visit the scene of crime and guide investigating officers. In most cases, the crime scene management is done by the police personnel. “In India, crime scene management has been a neglected area of crime investigation. There is no dedicated manpower with grounding in forensic science,” an internal note said.
As part of the reorganisation of FSL, a separate vertical for crime scene management had been created in 2015, and 33 district scientific aid units (DSAUs) in Karnataka were to have a few police personnel trained in handling evidence. But this did not materialise because of various reasons.
“Poor handling of evidence by investigating officers has many a time resulted in the destruction of crucial evidence before they are taken up for analysis,” the note said. Crucial evidence may be missed or collected evidence may be degraded owing to improper handling and packing, it added.
Furthermore, as experts in sections of firearms and physics are available only at the FSL, Bengaluru, the available resource pool has to travel to crime scenes across Karnataka, and many times may not be able to visit the scene immediately.
Once operational with 206 ‘scene of crime’ officers deployed across 33 DSAUs, they will be deployed in cases involving crime against women and children, crimes against weaker sections, and those that merit punishment of more than seven years.
Additional Director-General of Police (Crime and Technical Services) R. Hitendra said the officers would be recruited in phases and the recruitment rules were being finalised. “Two or three officers will be deployed in each district in the first phase. It will take about a year for these officers to be deployed after the process of recruitment and training is completed,” he said.