Assess The Effectiveness Of The Criminal Invest

Assess The Effectiveness Of The Criminal InvestThe criminal investigation process is a complex aspect of the legal system that aims to gather evidence lawfully, justly and in the accordance with the rights of the victims, accused and society.The criminal investigation process encapsulates the powers of police to detain suspects, gather evidence, interrogate and to search and seize property, through the appropriate use of warrants and other legal means. The criminal investigation process also entails the rights of suspects, such as to bail and remand and the right to counsel during interrogation.

Police investigate most alleged crimes, but it is left to their discretion as to whether or not the alleged criminal activity warrants investigation. This may come down to the resources that the police have at their disposal or upon the seriousness of the crime. Gathering evidence is one of the main tasks of the police and is crucial. Evidence must be gathered lawfully otherwise the prosecution is at risk of it not being allowed to be relied upon in any subsequent hearing or trial as a judge may rule that the evidence is inadmissible. For example, police cannot, without a warrant, search premises or listen in to telephone conversations. A criminal charge has to be proven by the prosecution and the proof is always based on evidence available for the court to view. Evidence can be in the form of physical, electronic or witness statements and is a very effective part of achieving justice during a crime. The evidence collected at a crime scene or through witness statements can help to incarcerate the guilty and keep the streets safe. Thus, upholding the rights of the victims and society. However, it can be argued that the criminal investigation process is ineffective in achieving justice as evidence can be faulty, misleading or tampered with. In the case or R v Jama in Victoria in 2008, Jama was wrongfully convicted or rape based on faulty DNA evidence. After she was let out of gaol, The Australian reported Milanda Rout deemed the case a “disastrous miscarriage of justice” and SMH reporter Adam Bennet reported that evidence is flawed “because it goes through several hands and several stages”. Thus the criminal investigation can also be proven to be ineffective at times when a failure to achieve justice for the rights of victims and suspects is proven.

Two of the special powers given to police to assist in investigating crime are those of search and seizure. These powers are particularly controversial as it warrants the intrusion of an individual’s privacy which can be confronting and embarrassing. Under Part 4 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002, NSW police have powers to stop and search anyone where they ‘believe on reasonable grounds’ that they are carrying anything related to an unlawful offence. This is ultimately an effective measure in the investigation of a crime, as it can incriminate individuals who are involved in the crime or prevent the crime from happening if the police search and seize items before the fact. In some situations, however, a search warrant will need to be obtained by police from the court before exercising their powers.

A warrant is a legal document that is issued by a magistrate and judge which authorizes a police officer to perform a particular act (i.e. arrest, conduct a search, use a phone tap). The judicial oversight helps ensure that special police powers are used appropriately and protect ordinary citizens against the misuse of power. This allows ordinary citizens security and privacy, as the police can only invade their privacy with a court order.
In essence, the criminal investigation process is ultimately an effective means of achieving justice as it ensures that there is justice for the victim, the accused and the community in that the victim feels that his/her claims are being taken seriously, that there is enough evidence to convict the accused of a crime and that the community is protected from criminal behaviour and activity.

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