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SIO Corner: Use And Reviewing Of TIE Actions

This week we continue to look at the use and reviewing of (Trace/Interview/Eliminate) TIE actions

In this series we look at various aspects of life as an SIO. This includes the necessary skill sets for the successful SIO, the management of serious crime investigation and specific elements of investigative practice from initial response through crime scene examination and investigative strategies to dealing with suspects and the media. The articles are excerpts from the 2nd edition of Blackstone's, the 'Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook', written by two highly experienced SIOs (see 'About the Authors' at the end of the article).

‘Significant TIEs’ And/Or ‘Persons Of Interest’

The terms ‘significant TIE’ and ‘person of interest’ have worked their way into police investigation language in recent times and are sometimes used by SIOs when it is necessary to create a higher status or category of TIE subject. The added importance is aimed at helping prioritize certain types of TIE subjects who have a higher potential to be the offender and allows the SIO to maintain a heightened focus on this class of persons.

It may be that a more stringent set of elimination criteria are attached to these types of TIE subjects, such as enhanced background research and a high level of search criteria of their homes (eg using forensic scientists to check clothing or footwear and more detailed work on alibi evidence provided). The SIO should constantly review the status of any significant TIE subject and ensure that the strict TIE elimination criteria is applied.

It is, however, important to draw the distinction between a ‘significant TIE’ and a ‘suspect’. Once a person is declared a suspect any subsequent questioning should of course fall under the provisions of arrest under PACE, whereas the investigation of a ‘significant TIE’ subject does not fall under the provisions of PACE unless they are later declared a suspect. A ‘person of interest’ could also perceivably be a witness, and therefore the integrity of any conversation or interview should be carefully recorded. Interview advisers may also be used to develop interview strategies for all significant TIEs which would include method of interview etc.

At any subsequent court hearing an SIO may have to explain precisely what these terms mean and why, for instance, such an individual was not afforded the protection of a caution, legal representation, and custody safeguards laid out in PACE. Nevertheless, the terms are, by and large, useful provided they are not overly abused and care is exercised so that boundaries between one or the other do not become too blurred or procedurally confusing.

Reviewing TIEs

All outstanding TIEs need to be regularly reviewed in order to manage them effectively. Any list of TIE actions should be reviewed periodically and methodically assessed to determine which of the TIEs are currently of most importance. These decisions should be formally recorded in the SIO’s policy file, or by using a printed list of each and every TIE action and putting alongside each one, with reasons, the order of priority.

Also, whether they should remain allocated or become allocated (if they remain in the ‘for allocation’ queue). The TIE criteria and categories should also be reviewed at regular intervals and redefined if appropriate to ensure they are relevant and appropriate.

Use Of TI Actions (Trace And Interview)

Any action that is outside the scope of the TIE criteria is just given the status of a trace and interview T/I. These can be used for a variety of purposes, for example:

TI actions can also be placed into categories for ease of reference and management. These can be tailored to fit the needs of the specific investigation. Examples of these are:

About the Authors:

Detective Superintendent Tony Cook was a CID officer with Greater Manchester Police for over 31 years until his retirement in 2009. During his time as an SIO, he led a number of high profile investigations including operations into gangland violence at Moss Side, the Bolton murder of a teenage girl in 2002, and the Denton strangling case. He was a trained assessor for promotion and a qualified Authorising Officer under RIPA. Tony received 14 commendations and a first-class BSc Honours degree in social sciences and a Diploma in Social Policy & Criminology from the Open University.

Andy Tattersall, formerly Detective Superintendent in Greater Manchester Police on the Force Major Incident Team, retired in 2007 after 33 years service and became the first ever Support Staff SIO in charge of a new Homicide Support Unit. With over 29 years in CID at all ranks Andy received the Homicide Working Group National Award for his Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Homicide in November 2006.

To see more details about the Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook, or to purchase a copy, click here

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