Crime scene evidence inventory management system: the case of Zambia Police Service

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Nsofwa, Peter
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The University of Zambia
Crime solving comprises methodical law enforcement, an exhaustive investigation and collection of facts, and extensive evidence testing performed by criminalists and forensic experts. All the efforts might be in vein if the evidential items collected from the crime scene are not handled in a manner which adheres to the rules of evidence because it will not be accepted as evidence in Court. In order to archive this, evidential rules must be observed at each stage of the evidence life cycle. Law enforcement agencies in the western countries have gone aboard on computerizing and improving their information systems, in an effort to improve their services. These information systems include the use of inventory management systems. The main objective of this study was to remodel and prototype a crime scene evidence inventory management for Zambia Police. To archive this objective, a comprehensive review of relevant literature was done as to get an understanding of the concepts of processes, procedures and policies, associated with management of crime scene evidence. Interviews and questionnaire instruments were used to define the challenges, processes procedures and policies for the Zambia Police in regard to crime scene evidence management. The results from the baseline study showed that Zambia Police evidence inventory is done manually, mainly paper based and partly on spreadsheet. The system has no strong control procedures and has high chances of evidence tempering or pilfering. This also showed that the current system is not efficient. These baseline study findings were used to conceptualize and design the various components of crime scene inventory management system. Based on the results from the prototype testing, it showed that the implementing the Crime Scene Evidence Inventory Management System will reduce the chance of evidence pilferage and tempering and will greatly improve the chain of custody. Keywords: Exhibits, Integrity, Authenticity, Inventory management, Barcode, Chain of custody.
Chain of custody , Inventory management