THE BELOW OF THE SURVEY
Cathie Louvet's chronicle
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS :
Folder n°4: Expertise experts
No clue resists the investigators of the series "Experts in Manhattan", no criminal escapes them, the scientific cops of the series are too strong ... But are their investigations realistic or completely fanciful ?? Let's investigate ... in five questions !!
1. Do not go to a crime scene in jeans and sneakers.
Certainly, it is more glamorous, for an actor, to appear with an open face and dressed in clothes that put the silhouette in value. The only concession of most police series to realism is a pair of rubber gloves ... As if only hands could contaminate a crime scene. And our 150,000 hair, our 50 hairs per cm2 on the face and 10 hairs per cm2 on the rest of the body, then !! Not to mention our millions of dead skin cells, drops of saliva and sweat, pills of our sweaters, pollens and cat hair on our clothes, particles of all kinds that we carry under our soles !!
I readily agree that the disposable hooded suit, surgical mask, shoe protectors and latex gloves worn in duplicate are not really sexy but they very effectively avoid contaminating any scene of crime or offense. Already finding the traces left by the criminal is not easy, so needless to add !!
2.In general, it is not the same people who pick up the clues and analyze them.
Stella Bonasera knows how to do everything: read a crime scene, detect the clue that will betray the criminal and then analyze it on his return to the lab. Unfortunately, it is not the same in "real life"! What happens in France in case of burglary, violence on a third party or even murder?
Gendarmes (in the countryside or in small towns) or police (in larger urban areas) are called. The first person arrives at the scene and carries out basic technical operations, such as fingerprinting. It is for him to decide whether the seriousness of the facts requires the intervention of specialists. Called ICT, a criminal investigation technician, in the gendarmerie, or GSI, an offense scene manager, in the police, he can also take fingerprints as well as sleeves, scavenging insects or mobile phones.
However, these indices will not be analyzed by the same person, either because of lack of time (once back in the office, the technician has to write his report and therefore entrusts his samples to a colleague); or by the need to use highly specialized specialists, for example to establish a DNA profile or to determine the composition of an explosive. In this case, one of the five laboratories of the National Institute of Forensic Science may be used, whose staff only travel for the most serious cases.
3.Forensic science does not only deal with murders.
Of all the DNA analyzes carried out at the National Forensic Science Institute, only 20% relates to the most serious crimes: homicides, rape and robbery. In reality, police investigations mainly involve theft and burglary, although it is present in everyday life: a fight in a bar with a broken chair on the head of a drunken client ... A specialist in technological traces will peel off the CCTV camera while another will analyze the footprints found on the chair.
The PTS (Technical and Scientific Police) also intervenes in drug trafficking cases, primarily in order to identify seized products. It will also identify an explosive, determine whether a fire is of a criminal origin, and specify the circumstances of a traffic accident when there has been an offense of flight. The analysis of the fingerprints found on fraudulent documents will indicate who used to manipulate them. During the trial, this information will enable the jury to determine the penalties by recognizing any aggravating circumstances.
4.The members of the police force do not attend interrogations.
For the simple reason that they are not investigators. In other words, their job is not to identify the guilty, but to answer the questions that the investigators ask themselves about an object or a fingerprint identified during an investigation. Moreover, never meeting the suspects guarantees to the technicians and scientific specialists that their capacity of analysis is not distorted by their feelings towards the persons involved in an investigation. This desire for neutrality also explains why PTS members do not rub shoulders with those conducting investigations; in general, they work in separate locations.
Especially since the investigators, whether police or gendarmes, have every interest to remain discreet about the information that they possess. Unlike television series, where the expert is aware of the smallest details of the investigation, the police officer, in reality, often discovers a case on which he worked only years later, reading the press or watching TV.
5.A police scientist is (almost) never wearing a weapon.
Indeed, it is not because we work with the police that we necessarily carry a weapon. In fact, only the people who are responsible for the safety of the lives of others are peacekeepers, brigadiers and brigadier-chiefs, officers (lieutenants, captains, etc.). .) and the commissioners. Special training, accreditation and regular training at the shooting range are required. Not all scientists have been trained, let alone staff working in the labs.
In summary, it is possible to distinguish between "police officers" who are police officers trained in crime scene management techniques, who may be armed if they have received training, and mostly "police scientists" armed because recruited on their skills in science and who hardly leave their laboratory.