Criminal investigation units provide crucial assistance to police in investigating crimes and bringing criminals to justice. A trained and experienced police criminal intelligence investigator specializes in investigating, solving, and prosecuting serious crimes, including narcotics, fraud and money laundering, theft, and homicide. Unlike uniformed police officers, criminal investigators do not wear uniforms to be more effective in their intelligence gathering duties, which may include going undercover between suspected groups.
Like criminologists, a criminal intelligence investigator investigates crimes that have been reported to the police department. Uniformed police officers create preliminary reports on crimes they see while on patrol or those that people report at the station. The case is then assigned to a criminal investigator, either because it is within his area of competence or because he is available on call. He follows up on the report by preparing and carrying out an investigation plan that includes interviewing witnesses, suspects, and victims, positively identifying suspects using physical evidence, including fingerprint verification, and thoroughly investigating all available leads.
Criminal investigators gather information in order to learn the facts of a case and solve it. The police investigator goes to the crime scene and gathers any evidence that could lead to the identification of the perpetrators. An investigator will gather any physical evidence obtained at the crime scene, like fingerprints and DNA, and will carefully examine any clues such as blood splatter patterns, footprints, the location of things found on the scene, and so on. However, there are times when there is no physical proof, and the investigator has narrowed it down to a certain suspect, in which case undercover work is required. Surveillance is also carried out by criminal investigators, as well as the cultivation of sources and informants who assist them in gathering intelligence.
Criminal intelligence units build comprehensive databases with the help of their investigators, allowing for the study and transmission of critical information for investigations. The Automated Fingerprint Identification System, for example, is a database produced and maintained by criminal investigation units around the country in order to accurately identify individuals based on their fingerprints. Other databases include information on gun ownership and registration, offender psychological profiles, sex offenders, and even transnational criminals. A criminal investigator will use databases to study and analyze information in order to investigate a crime and, in certain cases, prevent one if he notices a trend.
A police criminal intelligence investigator builds a case for court by conducting extensive investigations, handling suspects properly, and carefully collecting evidence. The investigator prepares witness statements and ensures that witnesses appear at trial. He also ensures that evidence is properly stored in police lockers and that the chain of evidence is secure so that it can be used to prove the case’s facts at the hearing. A criminal investigator may be called to testify in court. He must be well-versed in the facts of the case and the applicable legislation to avoid losing the case and allowing the perpetrators to walk free due to a technicality.