Principles governing the management of critical incident scenes

  • Alleged criminal offences committed by persons other than police officers will be investigated by the PSNI.
  • Alleged criminal offences commited by PSNI officers will be investigated by the Police Ombudsman.
  • When joint crime scenes are involved, PSNI officers and Police Ombudsman Investigating Officers will investigate their respective allegation, but the organisation with the most serious crime allegation will generally take the lead in respect of forensic support, crime scene management, and access to any witness(es) and suspect(s). The police and Police Ombudsman investigators will determine primacy on a case specific basis.
  • In cases of dispute in respect of which investigation takes primacy, the matter should be raised with the appropriate authority within the PSNI (District Commander or Crime Manager as applicable), who can then speak to the Police Ombudsman's On-call SIO, or ultimately to the Police Ombudsman's Director of Investigations.
  • In cases dealt with by the emergency procedure where the PSNI assumes primacy of the scene/investigation, this does not remove the absolute responsibility of the PSNI to immediately inform the Police Ombudsman's on-call SIO. In accordance with the above principles, the Police Ombudsman's on-call SIO will inform the PSNI if the intended actions of the Police Ombudsman investigating officers.
  • All documents, statements, forensic samples (or scientific results), photographs or any other investigative material relevant to the Police Ombudsman's investigation must be made available subsequently to the Police Ombudsman's Investigating Officer.
  • The Police Ombudsman will fulfil his duty in respect of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 and Article 6 and Schedule 1 of the Human RIghts Act 1998.


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