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Hazard

Compromised investigations: Ineffective or inappropriate actions

Hazard Knowledge

If a fire and rescue service does not apply due diligence to investigations, it may result in:

  • Failure of an investigation
  • Failing to hand the investigation over to the appropriate agency
  • Delayed handover of the investigation to the appropriate agency
  • Reputational damage
  • Corporate liability
  • Inability to learn lessons in order to:
    • Inform future learning
    • Develop fire and rescue service policies to reduce risk
    • Improve community risk

Handover of an investigation scene

The handover of the scene between agencies, notably after fire and rescue service operations, is an important stage. If cordon control or scene management practices are reduced or neglected during the transition, there is greater potential for evidence to be lost or compromised.

The fire and rescue service may be keen to remove any equipment that is still deployed. However, to avoid further impact on remaining evidence, this should not take place until the scene has been inspected by the agency taking over. It is also possible that the agency taking over the scene may require some of the fire and rescue service equipment to remain in place.

Record-keeping

Without good record-keeping, which complies with legislation and regulations, evidence may be challenged or deemed inadmissible