Skip to Content

Every Great Investigator Needs A Trusty Dr Watson

For homeland security, public security or public safety agencies, one of their primary core business areas is the prevention, investigation and detection of crime.

As with any other profession, investigators over time have developed a high degree of expertise in the field of criminal investigation. This investigative DNA has ensured that their dedication, attention to detail, instinct and tenacity has solved many otherwise undetectable crimes.

The movies and TV have often portrayed the use of confession evidence as being the main tool in the investigators armoury and whilst today admissions of guilt still play a key role, increasingly there has been a shift towards the use of forensics and intelligence in order to solve the crime.

Yet still many investigating agencies rely heavily of dated and inconsistent processes, paper based systems and where technology is deployed have resorted to silo based systems and databases to plug gaps. Those that have deployed case mgt systems have tended to target the case file and not the processes of investigation itself.

For many organisations this has led to a range of tools being deployed at a department, team or case type level. It has often led to significant investments being made in databases, custom applications and tools deisgned to manage and visualise this complexity.

One departmental representative recently told me that if a crime changed from an assault to attempted murder they would have to re-key in all the previously information onto a seperate system and in this process valuable intelligence, data and time would be lost.

Today’s investigations, which are not screened early in the crime recording process and which are not classified as minor crime, tend to involve much higher degrees of complexity than was similar cases in the past.

Increasing volumes of digital content, the rise of forensics, changes in legislation, an increasingly aware public, highly mobile criminals and the increasing use of technology in the planning and commission of a criminal act means the operational environment for investigators has many more moving parts and variables.

Tie this to the greater need for accountability and transparency around decision making, policy compliance, service delivery and performance, then you can see how much additional administrative burdens can be placed on investigating officers.

As with any business or process, more complexity means more costs and an increased likelihood of errors being made. Within the criminal investigation world this can have serious ramifications – an offender who may have been identified is not, a case falls through on a technicality or an innocent person runs the risk of being wrongly charged.

Adopting a more process based approach across the investigation lifecycle, (so from instigation, initial investigation through to secondary investigation, finalisation and review) means that you are able to identify all the key elements of a successful investigation.  

On any investigators list you would probably find entities, intelligence, evidence, digital content, forensics, crime scenes, locations, profiles, decisions, activities, leads, incidents, the case itself, key processes, analytics, teams, forms, security, resources and costs all being key elements needed to ensure a successful investigative outcome.

Our approach has been to take an enterprise view of investigations, build in the necessary flexibility for different crimes and cases, yet provide a common platform which enables investigation authorities to better manage all these moving parts in a more consistent, standardised and process driven way.

For some detectives this could seem to be a threat to their own expertise, experience and personal style. This is an important cultural aspect to consider, however it is often said by senior investigating officers that often the most inexperienced officers are first to the crime scene or that the first hour in any investigation is often the one likely to prove most vital.

If a common investigation management platform can promote good practice and consistency across the investigator community then surely this will impact positively upon investigative performance.

Add this to the ability to manage the identity of people, locations, objects, events, leads and cases in a highly structured and flexible way. Then you really start to realise the power of an enterprise wide approach. Very quickly the investigator can build a complete picture of not just their own case but they are able to see all the links and relationships across investigations, identity discrepancies can be quickly resolved and case progress can be quickly analysed.  

Such a enterprise wide approach to investigations requires highly intuitive user interfaces, very flexible case processes, enhanced security and best in class analytics.

SAP Investigative Case Mgt has been designed with investigator’s in mind and supports the complete investigation lifecycle. Our approach is not to stifle the experienced and effective detective, rather that we know behind every super sleuth is the trusty Dr Watson.

SAP ICM supports the complete range of processes, our belief is that in delivering this broad and deep range of capabilities we can help secure more arrests, more convictions, faster investigations, better outcomes and improved services to victims, witnesses and the broader community.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Hi Sean,

    your blog demonstrates – as every conversation with you in the past – your deep understanding of the security area.

    I just want to add one point: We are getting more and more interest on ICM from enterprises who want to use ICM for internal investigations. In the area of even tightened compliance this will be another grwoth area.

    I am looking forward to more blogs from you in the future.

    Best regards,

  • I do agree with Bernard that corporates can be interested.
    Think of claims departments at an insurance agency who desparately need to understand the hidden patterns behind some recurring fraud cases. Is there a pattern. Those companies have untill now focussed on ‘intelligence’ to find the creditworthiness, but this side is becoming more important now.
    As well I have seen that multinationals use investigative case tools and analysis software to have a better oversight of some interna fraud patterns.
    Question is, if ICM then can be positioned as an add on to e.g. the insurance suite?