The successful investigator should demonstrate a high level of expertise in
acquiring information from both physical evidence and the statements provided by
those related to or involved in the criminal incident. They must be capable of
discerning which evidence merits meticulous scientific examination within a
laboratory, conducted by proficient technicians, and understanding the proper
methods for its storage and transportation. Additionally, they need to excel in
conducting interviews with crime victims and witnesses, while also exhibiting
adeptness in the art of interrogating suspects. Ultimately, their acumen lies in
identifying the precise evidence required to establish the fundamental
components of the alleged offense.
The Police Investigations may fail in courts due to the following reasons:Ignoring Evidence:
Overlooking or disregarding certain pieces of evidence, even if they seem minor,
can result in the omission of crucial information. Each piece of evidence may
contribute to a more complete picture of the crime and potential motives.
Mishandling of evidence can occur when police fail to properly collect,
preserve, store and transport physical evidence to the laboratory. If evidence
is contaminated, damaged, or not stored securely, it can compromise the
integrity of the investigation and render the evidence inadmissible in court.
Bias and Prejudice:
Bias and prejudice can cloud judgment and influence how police approach certain
cases or individuals. Treating some individuals unfairly can result in
incomplete investigations or wrongful targeting of suspects.
Lack of Training:
Inadequate training in investigative techniques can hinder an officer's ability
to properly collect evidence, interview witnesses, and conduct thorough
investigations. Lack of training can also lead to errors in interpreting
Lack of Resources:
Insufficient resources, whether financial, personnel, or technological, can
hinder investigators from conducting thorough examinations of evidence,
interviews, or follow-ups.
When police fail to interview all relevant parties, witnesses, or potential
suspects, they may miss critical information that could provide a comprehensive
understanding of the events. Incomplete interviews can lead to gaps in the
investigation and an inaccurate representation of what actually transpired.
Tunnel vision occurs when investigators become fixated on a particular suspect
or theory and ignore other viable leads. This can lead to confirmation bias,
where evidence that contradicts the chosen theory is dismissed, potentially
resulting in wrongful accusations.
Using improper interrogation methods, such as intimidation, threats, or denial
of legal rights, can lead to false confessions. Coerced confessions undermine
the credibility of the investigation and can wrongly implicate innocent
Lack of Follow-Up:
Failing to diligently pursue leads, tips, or pieces of evidence can result in
missed opportunities to gather crucial information. Without thorough follow-up,
potential breakthroughs might go unnoticed.
When different departments, officers, or agencies fail to communicate
effectively, important information can be lost or not shared in a timely manner.
Poor communication can lead to disjointed investigations and missed connections
between evidence and suspects.
Ignoring Alternative Theories:
Focusing exclusively on a single theory of the crime can cause investigators to
ignore other plausible explanations. Considering alternative theories helps
ensure a more balanced and comprehensive investigation.
Rushing the Investigation:
Pressure to solve a case quickly can lead to shortcuts, overlooked evidence, and
hasty conclusions. Rushing an investigation increases the likelihood of errors
and can compromise the accuracy of the findings.
Shortage of Investigating Officers
Some Investigating Officers are saddled with more cases of investigation than
they can handle. I have even seen many officers at the police station level
investigating more than 40-50 cases singlehandedly due to paucity of
investigating officers. This results in poor quality of investigation and spoils
investigation of many cases even inviting displeasure of the courts and the
public. It needs no mention that the Investigating Officers also must perform
various law and order duties in the jurisdiction of the Police Station and even
outside the jurisdiction in addition to normal police work and their
Paucity of Vehicles
There is shortage of vehicles at the Police Station level thereby handicapping
regular movement of the Investigating Officers for visit to the scene of crime,
examination of witnesses and arrest of the accused persons. This hampers proper
and timely police investigation.
Unavailability of Computers
There is absence of the required number of computers at the police Station level
for use of the Investigating Officers resulting in delay in writing of Case
Diaries and preparation of other documents thereby causing disruption in the
investigation of cases.
Absence of Proper Storeroom/Malkhana
In most of the Police Stations there is no proper room for safely storing the
exhibits and seized documents leading to dislocation of evidence and its
Delay at Forensic Laboratories
As the forensic laboratories are overburdened with exhibits and evidence due to
their inadequate number and insufficient officers in the existing forensic
laboratories, forensic reports are not submitted timely to the courts through
the Investigating Officers and sometimes even incorrect forensic reports are
submitted resulting in damage to the interest of the case leading to acquittal
of the accused persons.
Disinterested and Hostile Witnesses
It is very difficult to find a good and independent witness in course of
investigation of a case compelling Investigating Officers to use stock and
pocket witnesses leading to questioning of credibility of the witnesses during
trial of the case and subsequent acquittal of the accused persons. Very few
people come forward on their own to stand witness in a case despite being
eyewitness. Some genuine witnesses even turn hostile during trial of the putting
the prosecution side in a tricky situation and damaging the fate of the case.
Mistakes in FIR
Many a times FIRs are not drafted properly and contain many mistakes like wrong
name of the complainant, incorrect name of the accused persons, witnesses, wrong
description of the scene of crime, exclusion of the name of writer of the
complaint, absence of signature of the complainant, incomplete description of
the incident, and wrong representation of the weapon of offence etc.
Delay in FIR
Unexplained delay in filing of the FIR may damage the case beyond repair and may
raise question of concoction in drafting the FIR and naming of the accused
person including prodding of some other person in writing the FIR. Hence, if
there is delay in lodging the FIR, the same may be explained in the FIR itself
and FIR should be filed promptly immediately after the incident so that the
question of inordinate delay in filing the FIR may not be raised by the defence
Police Station Based Investigation
Many Investigating Officers conduct investigation by sitting at the Police
Station instead of visiting the scene of crime or examining the witnesses at
their locations. They prepare statements of the witnesses on their own without
examining them by tallying the same with the FIR and sometimes even manipulate
the statements according to their own sweet will for implicating some innocent
persons or exonerating the accused persons.
Some police officers implicate innocent persons in false cases at the instance
of their enemies or for personal interest or due to some extraneous factors.
When properly challenged in court, these cases fall flat under scrutiny of the
court discrediting police in the eyes of law and the common man.
Many Investigating Officers do not make proper seizure list of the exhibits
seized or do not show the actual place of seizure in the seizure list or do not
follow the proper procedure of seizure and make stock witnesses as seizure
witness leading to failure of the case in court during scrutiny and
In conclusion, police investigations are complex endeavours that require careful
attention to detail, unbiased judgment, and proper procedural adherence. While
mistakes are inevitable, acknowledging and learning from these lapses is
essential for continuous improvement in law enforcement practices. Striving for
accuracy, fairness, and transparency in investigations is vital to ensuring
justice is served appropriately.
Written By: Md. Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565