Legal Crime Essay

2056 words - 9 pages

The Criminal Investigation ProcessStudy notes2.1.1 Police powersThe main police powers are defined by two statutes including the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 and the Bail Act 1978 (NSW)Police powers include:The power to arrestThe power to issue cautions, warnings and infringement notices in relation to minor offencesThe right to obtain identification information, (name, address and provision of licence)Example: If a vehicle is suspected of being used for a serious offence, the owner, driver, and passengers must provide their names and addresses to policeThe power to stop and detain a person for the purposes of a search if the police have reasonable grounds to ...view middle of the document...

In many matters, police have discretion as to whether to proceed with an investigation. This judgement will be informed by factors such as the severity, or otherwise, of the alleged crime, available resources and targeted priorities. You should note that in some cases, such as a domestic violence complaint, police have no discretion and since 1997 when this reform was introduced, must attend and investigate all domestic violence complaints.Gathering evidenceWhilst acknowledging that police play an important role in deterring crime, their principal role in the criminal justice process is to investigate crime.Central to this function is the gathering of evidence to support the prosecution case, bearing in mind that it is the prosecution who carry the burden of proving all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.Evidence must be gathered lawfully otherwise the prosecution is at risk of it not being allowed to be relied upon in any subsequent hearing or trial as a judge may rule that the evidence is inadmissible. For example, police cannot, without a warrant, search premises or listen in to telephone conversations.Evidence gathered can take a number of forms, ranging from witness statements, physical objects, forensic evidence, including DNA and fingerprints, to business records.Use of technologyAdvances in technology have greatly enhanced the tools available to police when investigating crime and gathering evidence.Most strikingly, DNA evidence, the gathering of which is regulated by the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 NSW has revolutionised the criminal investigation process in terms of identifying the perpetrator of the crime.Additionally, closed circuit televisions (CCTV) in public spaces like railway stations, hotels and banks have also provided police with an important tool when trying to identify suspects.Search and seizureThe police have no general power to search a member of the public.Police do have the power to stop and detain a person for the purposes of a search if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is carrying illegal articles, such as drugs, on their person or in their vehicle or boat.A reasonable ground has been held to mean more than a mere possibility but less than an actual belief.If police have been given special public disorder powers they have the right to search a person or vehicle if they are on a 'target road or area'.When police undertake a search of a person who is not under arrest, in the normal course this may involve a pat down and request to remove outer garments. Police can also use an electronic metal detection device and examine a person's hair and inside their mouth. A strip search must be justified by a genuine belief by police that it is necessary and as far as practicable should be undertaken by an officer of the same gender and with as much privacy as possibleAdditionally, a person must be told the reason for the search and given details of the police officer performing the...

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