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SIO Corner: Resource management

In our latest SIO corner series, we look at how organisation of staffing, expertise and tech and any budgeting considerations are essential to investigations

In this series, we preview sections of Blackstone's third edition of the Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook. This book provides invaluable insight about the essential skills and responsibilities that a senior investigating officer needs to manage serious crime investigations, from the initial response through to crime scene examination and investigative strategies. PoliceOracle.com readers can enjoy a 20 per cent discount on the book with our special offer code at the end of the article.

Complex and major crime investigations invariably require the management of a large number of staff, including experts and those brought in from elsewhere to assist. There will be considerations such as budgetary requirements (and constraints), technical resources, vehicles, overtime costs and expenses to consider, in addition to ensuring the correct amount and type of resources are sustained.

Requests for the necessary and essential resources are best made in the early stages. This is to ensure as much evidence and information is captured and secured quickly, which in the long term will save time and resources and prevent evidence becoming harder to find or contaminated. Enquiry teams can be reassessed and trimmed back later when resource implications may not be as critical.

An essential management skill is getting teams to perform to a higher standard than their numbers would generally allow. There are usually finite resources available and an SIO should record any staffing problems and when/how they have to balance investigational needs against (non-)available resources. This will afford some protection if a review of an undetected crime comes later. Provided staff are willing, eager, enthusiastic and fully committed to their tasks, attitudes inherent in good SIOs, success can still be achieved despite staffing limitations.

Effective resource management—Logistics Coordination Units (LCU)

Some enquiries pose substantially more logistical challenges than others, such as those involving serial and series offending or cross-force boundary enquiries. These may require more skilful and effective management and control of resources because of large numbers or different types and locations of assets.

A dedicated logistics cell (eg LCU) in these circumstances can prove useful in managing all the various resources required by administering and organising accommodation, catering vehicles, equipment, finance, IT support, duty rosters, travel arrangements, welfare and personnel matters, expenses, cross-charging with other forces, procuring specialist services, etc.

Trained briefing officer teams could also be incorporated into the unit to provide continuous briefings and updates to large numbers of staff in line with the SIO’s objectives and requirements. Personnel to fill key roles can be selected and sourced from existing administrative departments that are used to dealing with these sorts of human resources administrative matters on a regular basis.

Staff could be temporarily seconded to the LCU for the duration of the enquiry and/or for as long as is necessary. An LCU should be managed by someone sufficiently experienced with the requisite skills to run the unit on the SIO’s behalf and who may also have to be answerable to a Gold Commander for the efficient management of resources and finance throughout the duration of the enquiry/ operation.

Any logistics support through an LCU should always be closely linked to the enquiry MIR to avoid duplication of effort and to record all details of their activities through HOLMES. This is also to ensure the SIO and the management team can always maintain control and that there is an effective audit trail of all activity and functions performed by the LCU.

About the authors

Former Detective Superintendent Tony Cook was a career detective and senior investigating officer with Greater Manchester Police until he retired in 2009. He is currently a PIP Level 3 and 4 Regional SIO Advisor with the National Crime Agency.

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.

Blackstone's Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook is designed specifically to meet the quick-reference needs of any officer conducting a serious investigation. The only portable step-by-step guide to the processes and actions involved in the role of a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), it explains all the relevant procedures and instructions integral to the position in a clear and accessible style.

For more details, click here.

Buy directly from the Oxford University Press website and enter the discount code ALPOLORH14 at the checkout to receive an exclusive 20% discount on the Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook.

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