Forensic Services Group
The critical role played by operational police in crime scene preservation cannot be overstressed.
The location, collection and recording of physical evidence are specialist skills. Forensic evidence can be collected at a crime scene, found in related locations, or be present on suspects, witnesses and victims. If it is not processed correctly, there is a risk of contamination, misinterpretation and even loss of evidence. Any subsequent investigation, or prosecution may be jeopardised by these actions, or inactions. It is therefore, vitally important to get the science right, from the beginning.
Moving science into the future
It is vitally important to get the science right from the beginning. The implementation of Livescan devices has provided real time identification of fingerprints, the Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) and new DNA legislation has allowed Forensic Services to provide first class technology to our clients in NSW and around Australia.
Forensic Services Structure
Forensic Services Group (Administration)
Located at Parramatta the FSG administration section provides a central base that includes the FSG Director, Branch Commanders, Senior Command Officers, and administrative staff (including Business Manager, Finance Manager, Human Resources, Records Management and Executive Support).
Crime Scene Operations Branch (CSOB)
The Crime Scene Operations Branch provides a specialised technical crime scene support service to all Police throughout New South Wales regarding criminal, coronial and incident investigations. This is achieved by examining, assessing, recording and collecting physical evidence from scenes and items facilitating examination and scenes, and items from qualified experts providing a range of advanced forensic research procedures, presenting the findings to Judicial Courts.
The Crime Scene Operations Branch is generally the first area to have contact with investigating police. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week attending crime scenes, fire scenes, vehicle collisions and to assist disaster victim identification; examine blood stain patterns; tool, shoe and tyre marks; make photographic comparisons as well as sketch and make models of scenes.
In direct support of frontline police, the Crime Scene Operations Branch manages the state via 2 metropolitan satellites located at Sydney and Westmead and 6 country zones managing 29 decentralised Crime Scene and Specialist Sections. Both fingerprint and physical evidence services are provided from these Sections. Police and civilian Scene of Crime Officers (SOCOs) provide a support role to the Branch in processing scenes of volume crime.
Forensic Ballistics Investigation, Incident Reconstruction, Video Operations, Engineering Investigation and the Major Crime Specialist Recovery Section also form part of the Branch providing a specialist service to the Crime Scene and Police Investigator including advanced fingerprint enhancement techniques, Interactive Scene Recording and Presentation System (ISRAPS), photogrammetry, vehicle identification and examination, ballistics and video support.
Criminal Identification Specialist Branch (CISB)
The Criminal Identification Specialist Branch primarily provides a professional fingerprint examination, comparison and identification service to the NSW Police, other law enforcement agencies and approved bodies through the utilisation of both manual and computerised fingerprint systems.
Staff provide document examination and specialised photographic and suspect/offender facial identification services.
The Branch is also the central repository for all NSW criminal history information, which forms the basis of an on-line criminal histories computer system for police as well as a criminal histories support service to the Courts and other approved bodies.
The Command receives, searches, compares and records/identifies the fingerprints of persons charged and fingerprinted throughout NSW. The Branch maintains and updates the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS II), a computerised fingerprint system designed for the searching, identification and recording of both 'charge' fingerprint and latent fingerprint impressions within NSW.
The branch also maintains the Livescan (electronic fingerprinting) system which provides real-time state wide processing of fingerprints, including the electronic collection, transmission, comparison and the results of a fingerprint enquiry, eliminating the risk of a charged person being bailed when wanted for questioning by other police.
The CISB provides operational police with identification information pertaining to latent fingerprints developed at crime scenes; laboratory examination of exhibits; maintenance of the computerised criminal histories system; comprehensive technical evidence and advice relating to the science of fingerprints and to the examination of questioned documents to operational police, the courts and other judicial bodies.
Counter Terrorist and Disaster Victim Identification Unit
This Unit is responsible for the training, management, attendance, sampling, identification and forensic scene examination of Counter Terrorist incidents such as chemical, biological or radiological incidents and explosion scenes. They also manage the role of Disaster Victim Identification that is invoked for an incident involving multiple fatalities such as the Waterfall Train Crash and Bali Bombing.
Professional Services Branch
The branch is comprised of Training and Development Services, Research and Quality/Accreditation sections.
Training and Development Services is responsible for the co-ordination of training for all Forensic Services Group personnel and Police Scene of Crime Officers in addition provides lectures and presentations to other forums such as detective's training courses.
Training is primarily targeted to forensic investigators including crime scene fingerprints and identification experts as well as Police and civilian Scene's of Crime Officers (SOCO'S). Most forensic investigators go on to complete the Diploma of Public Safety (Forensic Investigation) through the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).
The Research arm of the branch coordinates research papers undertaken by all Diploma students and will take on an increasing role in collaborative research undertaken through tertiary institutions. The Forensic Services Group is currently an industry partner in a number of research projects with other police forces and universities.
The Quality/Accreditation team is working towards gaining national accreditation for a selection of our forensic sites. Areas earmarked for accreditation are Sydney Laboratory, Ballistic Section, Document Examination Section and Fingerprints.
This area of the Branch oversees quality for all Forensic Services Group sites across the state and is primarily concerned with the coordination and monitoring of staff proficiency, compliance with systems including monitor workplace occupational health and safety.
Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit
A number of full and part time medical practitioners and scientists work at the Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit.
They give advice and lectures on automotive medicine (alcohol/drugs and driving), general medicine (cause of death), medical practice (procedures and ethics), coronial investigations (deaths in custody), medical and nursing malpractice, alcohol, drug and poison related deaths), trauma, toxicology and custodial care.
The Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit has been part of NSW Police since 1982. The Department of Health established the unit with a medical practitioner in the late 1980's.
Forensic Procedures Implementation Team (FPIT)
The Forensic Procedures Implementation Team is responsible for overseeing the implementation and operation of the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act.
The Act includes forensic procedures to be undertaken on persons suspected of having committed certain offences, persons convicted of serious indictable offences (including those sentenced to periodic or home detention) and volunteers; provides for the storage, use and destruction of material derived from those procedures; and facilitates the establishment and operation of a national DNA database system.
CrimTrac Coordination Unit
This unit provides direct support, policy and advice to the Commissioner as a member of the CrimTrac Board of Management.
The CrimTrac agency projects impact on all police through databases including identification of offenders (fingerprints and DNA), criminal history, motor vehicle and firearms. In the future, additional projects include child sex offender and other policing information databases.
This unit, through strategies and project management, coordinates NSW Police responses to the CrimTrac agency, ensuring they are aligned with the NSW Police corporate vision.