Respect that a crime scene has to be secured, says Malvern SAPS

PEOPLE coming across a crime scene can inadvertently affect it, and the case.The first responder at the scene of crime has a protocol filled task to secure and preserve the crime scene and the evidence therein.

According to Malvern SAPS, communications officer, Warrant Officer Radhika Marimuthu, crime scenes are cordoned off for the preservation of evidence so that its integrity, handling, packaging and continuity of possession is not compromised in any way.

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“There are rules to be observed to protect the integrity of the evidence at the crime scene. Emotion can overcome a person at a sensational crime and people are cautioned to display respect to the first responder, the detectives and other integral role players at the crime scene,” added W/O Marimuthu.

“The area will be cordoned off by crime scene tapes, cones and police personnel standing off at the scene . This should be respected and seen by the public as a barrier from entering the crime scene and trampling the evidence.

“The police have an important role in controlling, identifying, and removing persons at the crime scene and limiting the number of persons who enter the crime scene to protect the integrity of the crime scene. “Contamination of a crime scene by trampling on and disturbing evidence is a huge problem that ruins evidence and jeopardises a criminal case.

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“Trace evidence such as fibres, glass or paint can be easily compromised through unnecessary trampling of crime scenes.

“Working on The Locard Principle that every time a person makes contact with another person, place, or thing, it results in an exchange of physical materials and this serves as the very basis of preventing curious bystanders and onlookers from entering the crime scene,” said W/O Marimuthu.

Apart from disturbing evidence, this results in new material such as DNA, fingerprints, footprints, hair, skin cells, blood, bodily fluids, pieces of clothing, fibres which makes the task of the detectives more difficult.

Never block the entry of police, paramedics and other integral role players at the scene.



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Khethukuthula Lembethe-Xulu

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