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Criminal investigation process -en

Criminal investigation process 

If the police has reason to suspect that a crime has been committed, a pre-trial investigation is opened. 

The length of the investigation depends on the nature of the crime. Simple and clear-cut criminal offences are quick to investigate, while complex cases with little evidence to go on take longer. The length of the investigation also depends on the number of other cases that the police is dealing with at the same time. 

An analyst in protective clothing bending over a magnifying glass to look at a knife.

Forensic investigation

Solving crimes often also involves a forensic investigation. This means collecting, documenting and analysing evidence. For example, fingerprint recovery is a forensic process. 

Crime scene investigation involves the police searching and documenting the crime scene by means of photography, sketching or video. The process also includes collecting, documenting and analysing various kinds of samples. In addition to the crime scene, the police can investigate any instruments or individuals involved in the crime.  Crime scene investigations are often performed by the police department’s specialist forensics team. In straightforward cases, the responding police unit can also take care of the crime scene investigation. 

Forensic Laboratory of the National Bureau of Investigation

Finland’s Forensic Laboratory is housed at the National Bureau of Investigation. It carries out analyses for the police and other authorities. Some analyses are outsourced to partners. 

The Forensic Laboratory analyses more than 100,000 samples every year. The laboratory issues statements based on the analyses, which are used, for example, to advance investigations and in court. These statements have a direct impact on the legal rights of citizens and the lawfulness of society. 

High standards are critical to the performance of the Forensic Laboratory. The laboratory relies heavily on automation and different kinds of information systems. The Forensic Laboratory works in close cooperation with police departments’ forensic investigation centres in order to ensure an unbroken chain of custody from the crime scene to the courtroom. 

Things to remember at a crime scene

If you are at the crime scene yourself, it is useful to remember a few things that can help the police investigation. 

  • Prevent outsiders from entering the space. 
  • Try not to touch anything or move around the space unnecessarily. If there has been a break-in, for example, there could be shoe prints or fingerprints that you could accidentally smudge. 
  • Do not pick up or move anything at the crime scene. The police will first document any samples and relevant items in the locations in which they are found and only then collect them. 
  • Find out whether there are any security cameras and the identity of the person responsible for them. If there is security footage, give the tape to the police or make sure that the police has the details of the person responsible for the cameras. 

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Get to know the pre-trial investigation process

A pre-trial investigation is when the police is investigating a crime. In practice, a pre-trial investigation is a criminal investigation. 

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  1. A Police report

    You can file a police report online or by visiting your local police station.

  2. The police determines whether there is reason to suspect that a crime has been committed.

    Not all police reports that are filed lead to a pre-trial investigation. If the police has reason to suspect that a crime has been committed, a pre-trial investigation is opened.  The parameters of criminal investigation, such as the process, the parties involved, questioning and the closing of pre-trial investigations, are laid down in the Criminal Investigation Act. 

  3. Pre-trial investigation process

    A pre-trial investigation is about the police gathering more information about an incident by various means. Typical means include questioning and inquiries. In more serious cases, the police collaborates with the prosecutor from the very beginning of the pre-trial investigation process. 

  4. Pre-trial investigation report

    Once the investigation has progressed far enough and enough evidence has been collected, the police draws up a pre-trial investigation report. The injured party and the suspect can ask to see the report. 

  5. Completing the pre-trial investigation

    Once the pre-trial investigation has been completed, the police submits the pre-trial investigation report to the prosecutor, who then decides whether or not to bring charges. The prosecutor makes his or her decision based on the strength of the police’s case against the suspect.

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