Qualities of a Successful Investigator
In any criminal investigation, there exist three initial stages that a
successful investigator must always bear in mind. Firstly, the question of
whether a crime transpired must be addressed. Subsequently, if a crime indeed
occurred, the nature of the crime must be identified. Lastly, the investigator
must ascertain the identity of the perpetrator.
Once the nature of the crime is established, every endeavour is dedicated to
documenting the incident's particulars, identifying the wrongdoer, apprehending,
and arresting them, and gathering and safeguarding enough evidence to secure a
conviction. The investigator's task is to acquire testimonies and physical
evidence that not only qualify as admissible proof but also withstand potential
challenges from the defendant's defence advocate and are comprehensible to the
Effective techniques for conducting criminal investigations are typically honed
through experience but can also be acquired through study. Combining
foundational knowledge with practical experience constitutes an ideal approach.
Nonetheless, the true grasp of these techniques is achieved by applying them to
The successful investigator must possess adept skills in extracting information
from both tangible evidence and the accounts of those implicated in the crime.
They need to discern what evidence warrants scientific scrutiny in a laboratory
setting by skilled technicians and comprehend how to store and transport such
evidence appropriately. Furthermore, they must be proficient in interviewing
crime victims and witnesses, as well as skilfully interrogating suspects.
Ultimately, they must be astute in determining the evidence necessary to
substantiate the essential elements of the alleged offense.
Collaboration with multiple individuals is imperative for the success of any
investigation. Cooperation from complainants, victims, and witnesses is
essential; however, in numerous instances, individuals might be unwilling to
collaborate. An investigator, being a police officer, can encounter resistance
due to personal reasons or apprehension towards the police. Establishing
cooperation usually necessitates some degree of persuasion. This persuasion
becomes feasible when the investigator possesses traits that facilitate the
establishment and maintenance of interpersonal relationships. Traits such as
emotional self-control, tact, personal dignity, integrity, courtesy, honesty,
and conscientiousness pave the way for cultivating cooperative relationships.
Coercing information from individuals involved in a criminal investigation is
never advisable. Instead, the investigator should aim to persuade them � whether
it is the victim, providing fundamental details of the crime; witnesses,
providing pertinent information; suspects, offering insights into their
potential guilt; or even the criminal themselves, eliciting a damaging
confession or possibly a comprehensive admission and reconstruction of the
Building rapport with the victim is often underemphasized among detectives.
Granting respect, allowing them to express themselves, and recognizing their
newly acquired victim status can significantly impact the investigation.
Effective listening is pivotal, with the investigator interjecting questions
only when pertinent. Once all facts are gathered, the victim should be informed
about police actions and the commitment to apprehend the culprits.
Similar principles apply to interacting with witnesses. Allowing them to share
their accounts, posing relevant questions, and expressing gratitude can foster
positive sentiments towards the interviewer. Astonishingly, the same approach
holds true when dealing with suspects. Not all suspects are hardened criminals,
and being overly aggressive can deter potential future cooperation as witnesses.
The most arduous work for a detective often involves disentangling the truth
from a mixture of half-truths, distorted realities, and absolute truths.
Therefore, an accomplished investigator must embody conscientiousness and
honesty. Every relevant fact must be secured, regardless of whether it could
exonerate or incriminate a suspect. There is never a valid justification for
concealing evidence. An investigator of integrity would never commit such a
While new evidence might necessitate redirecting attention to alternative
suspects, the ultimate objective of a criminal investigation is not to implicate
anyone other than the actual culprits. It genuinely revolves around uncovering
the truth, and this quest for truth should guide the investigator in every case.
Experienced journalists often attest that it is not scientific techniques but
"good information" that cracks significant cases. This assertion holds true.
Most cases are solved due to useful information, often sourced from allies.
Naturally, successful investigations demand substantial effort. A skilled
detective is inherently a diligent worker, meticulously observing facts and
analytically evaluating complaints, information, opinions, beliefs, and
Relying on hearsay or mere suspicion is inadequate. The
apprehension of criminals does not hinge on luck or pretence. Instead, it is a
direct outcome of hard work, encompassing mastery of investigative techniques,
meticulous information gathering, and astute differentiation between fact and
The ability to cultivate relationships and gain the cooperation of others is
arguably the most valuable quality of a detective. Gathering information
involves interacting with diverse individuals, many of whom could become
invaluable allies. Such allies can be encountered daily during investigations,
patrols, or routine social interactions. Taxi drivers, waitstaff, bartenders,
bankers � each can serve as sources of valuable information. Although detectives
might not have informants in the traditional sense, they certainly need friends.
In essence, a successful investigator must possess a firm grasp of investigative
techniques, excel in building relationships and extracting information, and
comprehend the evidence required for securing convictions in specific crimes.
They must identify evidence amenable to laboratory analysis, exhibit
resourcefulness and determination to rival equally resourceful and determined
criminals, and ultimately uphold an unwavering commitment to integrity. The
investigator's role is to illuminate the truth from the complex web of
testimonies and physical evidence, ensuring justice for both the innocent and
Written By: Md. Imran Wahab
- Claire Mendler, Alaska Journal of Commerce - As Crimes over the Internet Grow, so does your Liability.
- Dr. Adam Graycar, Director, Australian institute of Criminology - Nine types of Cyber Crime.
- Dr. G.B. Reddy, Women and the Law, Gogia Law Agency, Hyderabad.
- Andhra Pradesh Police Academy, First Course in Investigation.
- P. Venkatesh, Police Diaries, Statements, Reports and lnvesi1'gations, Premier Publishing Company, Allahabad.
- R. Deb, Principles of Criminology, Criminal Law and Investigation, S.C. Sarkar & Sons, Calcutta.
- Col Maurice J. Fitzerald, Handbook of Criminal Investigation, ARCO Publishing Company, INC, 219 Park Avenue South, New York, 10003.
- Timewarner Books - Crime Busters.
- N.K. Acharya, Evaluation of Evidence, Asia Law House, Hyderabad.
- Ahmed Siddique, Criminology, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow.
- The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Robinson, Running Press, London.
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565