Training on Investigation of Heinous Crimes under Advanced Terrorism Investigation Course

06 - 07 January 2020, Peshawar. In continuation of the previous trainings on terrorism investigation, the PACT (Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism) team conducted the sixth session of an Advanced Terrorism Investigation course. The first two weeks of this course dealt with the Investigation of Heinous Crimes, from 6 to 17 January 2020. The training was organized at the Police School of Investigation, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP); and was attended by officers from the KP and ICT (Islamabad Capital Territory) Police.

The objective of the training was to equip the participants with knowledge of all the basic tools and procedures required to undertake a thorough investigation of any heinous crime. A total of thirty-one participants were trained on the 'Investigation of Heinous Crimes' topic, through a precisely designed teaching methodology focusing on theoretical models, case studies, and group-based activities. The trainers presented and explained the modern techniques and international best practices used as alternatives to traditional visual methods. 

To accurately assess the existing knowledge of the participants, the training session commenced with a pre-knowledge test.  Subsequently various chapters from the module were deliberated upon, in which the expert trainers delivered their lectures based on theoretical frameworks and personal field experience. An overview on the investigation of heinous crimes was given, to form the overall direction of the training; following which a more detailed approach was adopted, wherein the expert trainers discussed the motivations behind homicide, and the ways and means through which such cases could be evaluated. It was also emphasized that a very thorough approach was needed by the investigators to identify such cases, to ensure that the investigation's outcomes were not influenced.

The participants were in addition introduced to other dimensions of investigating heinous crimes: including building hypotheses and responding to blind murder cases, the investigative strategies to be adopted, and other miscellaneous yet significant considerations to be kept in mind by investigating officers during case investigation and report compilation.  Special emphasis was placed on legal definitions, police rules, and other aspects in the context of the  Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) in dealing with homicide. Forensic, pathological, and physical evidence in cases of heinous crimes was also discussed. The trainers elaborated on maintenance of crime scene integrity, crime scene search, and ways and means of protecting the crime scene to ensure that evidence was not lost. Detailed procedures to explain the methods of collecting evidence without compromising its admissibility in the court of law were also discussed.

During the training, the experts placed special emphasis on diary entries, note-taking, and on documentation - considered a core component of cases categorized as heinous crimes. This being a technologically advanced era, the significance of electronic and digital evidence could not be overlooked. Against this backdrop, the trainers covered comprehensively the types of evidence that were usually undermined during traditional investigation methods; the investigators were thus introduced to adopting a more diverse methodology.

Other key areas in which participants received training included: robbery and dacoity in relation to police rules; initial response to homicide crime scenes; and crime scene essentials including photography, sketching and measurement, etc.

The teaching methodology in total remained focused on repetitive learning, to ensure that no participant was left behind. Each day concluded with a quiz, assessment, or group activity, in the form of moderated discussions, to reinforce the day's learning. The participants also discussed a number of case studies on homicide, to acquire practical familiarity with actual cases. The training concluded on a positive note, with the participants thanking the UNODC team for their continuous efforts in organizing and delivering the session, which significantly enhanced their skills and knowledge levels. The UNODC team likewise appreciated the participants' dedication to acquiring advanced investigation skills.