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Communication and Decision Making A study on Royal Malaysian Police Force Criminal Investigation Methods 1.0 INTRODUCTION Quick actions taken at the outset of an investigation at a crime scene can play a pivotal role in the resolution of a case. A quick communication management among police officer resulting to sound judgment in decision is part of procedure to ensure careful, thorough investigation. It is the key to ensure that potential physical evidence is not tainted or destroyed or potential witnesses overlooked. There is no question that police organization such as Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) to play a vital role in the quality of life of every Malaysian community member. Police authorities such as PDRM often required making quick judgments and decisions that affect the lives and well being of its officers and Malaysia citizens. 2.0 THE CASE SENARIO A murder case was reported to Paloh Police Station Gua Musang Kelantan on 14 December 2008 involving the murder of 26 year old male, Oli Uddin a Bangladeshi national. When the case was referred to Chief of District Police (OCPD) of Gua Musang, instruction was given to go ahead with investigation which is under the responsibility of head of criminal investigation department. Due to the absence of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) from Crime Investigation Department (JSJ) at that time, the Assistant to Chief of District Police and also the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) for Gua Musang Police Contingent was asked directly by the Chief of District Police (OCPD) of Gua Musang District to be the investigation officer, taking over the case from the ASP and led the Criminal Investigation Department (JSJ) of Gua Musang Police Contingent due to the seriousness nature of the case 3.0 CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES Whenever practicable, officer in charge according to rank of designation and department shall follow the below listed procedures when investigating a crime committed, or an incident which has taken place requiring police action: 3.1 Information Development The primary purpose of a preliminary or follow-up criminal investigation is to identify and arrest the offender, when appropriate and consistent with law. This is usually accomplished by the gathering of information. Information may be obtained from physical evidence as well as from people or testimonial evidence. When arriving to the scene of crime, the investigating officer in this case, deputy superintendence of police (DSP) shall lead and take the following information: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) j) k) Time of assignment/arrival; Weather conditions, when pertinent to the investigation; Approximate time of crime, and by whom and when it was discovered; Identity of other officers present; Name, address, telephone numbers of the victim(s) and/or witnesses; Hour, date, and location of the interview; Description of the suspect, particularly unusual characteristics; Brief statements as to what a witness saw or heard; Important measurements and a crime scene sketch, when warranted; List of property and valuables taken or destroyed, if known; Any other information the officer believes may be useful in apprehending the criminal. 3.2 Major Crime Occurrences Police officer responding to a major crime occurrence shall immediately notify the shift commander, who shall notify the Chief of District Police (OCPD), or his designee (In this case, deputy superintendence of police (DSP) taking over responsibility at the absence of Assistant Superintendence of Police (ASP) in charge, and notify necessary investigative personnel. 3.3 Sudden Death or Homicide In cases of suspicious sudden death or homicide, the Head of Police Station after receiving report from Station Commander shall notify the Chief of District Police (OCPD) or his designee as in this case Deputy Superintendence of Police (DSP) taking over responsibility at the absence of Assistant Superintendence of Police (ASP) in charge, the Office of the District Attorney, and the Office of the Medical Examiner (coroner). 4.0 CASE MANAGEMENT AND CONTROLS a) Assigning Of Case Investigations When assigning case investigations to personnel, the Chief of District Police will consider any specialized skill, knowledge, or ability that may be needed in the investigation of such case, and assign the case to the appropriate investigator. b) Case Status The police officer (in this case the Deputy Superintendence of Police (DSP) at contingent level is in charge of the case management function shall supervise the status of case assignments, utilizing the administrative designations appearing on all Investigative Reports. 1. Open: Shall indicate that the case is assigned to a detective and that investigative efforts are active. 2. Suspended: Shall indicate that all available leads have been exhausted but the case has not been brought to a satisfactory conclusion and investigative efforts may be resumed. 3. Closed: Shall indicate the case has been satisfactorily concluded. TABLE ONE Police Contingent Headquarters of Gua Musang Organizational Structure KPD (OCPD) T/KPD (DSP) KBPD (ASP) KCKD (ASP) KBSJD (ASP) KBSJND (ASP) KBKA/KTD (ASP) KBLD (ASP) KPB (ASP) BALAI PALOH BALAI BERTAM PONDOK POLIS LOJING c) Criteria For Suspending Investigative Efforts A designation of suspended shall not be made without an evaluation by the officer in charge of the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Absence of further leads or solvability factors. Unavailability of investigative resources. Negative interviews with victims/witnesses. Inconclusive physical evidence found at the scene of the crime/incident. The exhaustion of all other information sources. The degree of seriousness of the offense/incident. d) Crime Victim Notification Of Status It shall be the responsibility of the officer in charge to assign an investigator to personally notify the victim of a crime of any changes in the status of a case. An official notification shall be made in person, by mail, or by telephone. The notification to the victim shall be made whenever the case changes from open to suspended or closed. Adequate explanation of the reason for the change shall be made to the victim by the assigned investigator. The investigator making the victim contact shall note this on his report. e) Case-Screening System/Solvability Factors Cases to be followed up will be determined by the Chief of District Police, or his designee, who shall base such determination on factors such as past experience, as well as degree of seriousness and solvability factors. 5.0 FOLLOW-UP INVESTIGATIONS Follow-up investigations are usually the result of the report review process. The criteria used to determine if a follow-up investigation will be conducted includes, but is not limited to, the nature and seriousness of the offense, solvability factors, and the availability of department resources. Renewable resources, such as photographic supplies, fingerprint equipment, videotapes, and other equipment and supplies, may be used during the course of the investigation at the discretion of the individual investigator. Principal investigator must be the first officer at the scene of any crime or incident is the Principal Investigator Case Officer. In this case because the absence of ASP from Crime Investigation Department (JSJ), the DSP is taking over the case to lead with the investigation. The outrank procedure is allowed with the permission of Chief of District Police 6.0 METHOD OF COMMUNICATION INVOLVED IN THE CASE ABOVE In this case study, the organizational decision making and method of communication process can be seen involving proper and efficient implementation of strategic plans and methods to achieve desired objective. Making a decision can have different implications for each respective division in the police force. Often one difficulty facing an organization is that multiple divisions (in this case involving control transition) are involved in the overall decision making process. The assignment given to solve the murder case is crucial in term of key strategic evaluation and planning. This planning during the investigation is to address the overall strategic goals of the crime solving organization and organizational change is done professionally to deal specifically with these issues. Organizational change management and planning processes seek to address the implications that a change in one input can have on the corresponding output. The evaluation and process evaluation that comprises part of the change management approach seeks to measure and anticipate the effect strategic decisions will have on department resources and personnel. There are two levels of decision-making that present themselves in this case. These decisions fall into the domains of crisis management and strategic management. Strategic decision-making, as a context, allows for deliberation and reflection and involvement of the public. In this context, it is clear that the police do have a systematic process of information gathering, discussion, review, consideration and weighing alternatives and ongoing assessment. The ability in incorporating the capability of solving the case into a more systematic decision process and communication management can been seen as follows: 6.1 Control and assistance in enquiries and investigations Deputy Superintendence of Police (DSP) may assume control of enquiries or investigations, subject to the assumption of control the responsibility is transferred from the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) which in this case the Chief of District Police (OCPD) wherever he sees fit in this case to head of with Criminal Investigation Department (JSJ). Such control includes the determination of the broad lines of enquiry or investigations, as well as such supervision of the conduct of the same thereafter, as will prevent serious errors or irregularities. Deputy heads of district police departments are responsible under such control, for details of enquiry or investigation within their districts, but they must, in all cases controlled by departmental functions, consult the Deputy Superintendence of Police (DSP) of that department before ordering the submission of charge-sheets or final reports. In enquiries or investigations in which the Criminal Investigation Department assists or advises, the responsibility of control shall remains with the Chief of District Police or the Deputy Superintendence of Police (DSP). 6.1 Method of assuming control. The Deputy Superintendence of Police (DSP) can issue control or be in control of an enquiry or investigation at any stage. On assuming control, the Deputy Superintendence of Police (DSP) shall inform the Chief of District Police forthwith, by sending a copy of his intimation directly as concerned. 6.2 Powers and functions of Criminal Investigation Department Officer Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Inspectors and others officers of the Criminal Investigation Department are superior in rank to an officer-in-charge of a police station and, as such may can exercise their authority throughout the area to which they are appointed, with the same powers as may be exercised by an officer in charge of a police-station within the limit of his station. They accordingly have power to detail the Inspector or Sub-Inspector of the Criminal Investigation Department to investigate a particular case when it is considered desirable that the case should be so investigated. Officers of the department deputed to districts in cases or enquiries taken under control shall work in subordination to Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) from Criminal Investigation Department of the district, shall be responsible for controlling their movements and proceedings, subject to orders received from the Deputy Superintendence of Police (DSP). But all other reports and communications as between the department and the officers and all orders issued from the department shall pass through the Assistant Superintendent, except in cases of extreme emergency. In such cases, copies of the orders or communications shall be forwarded simultaneously to the Deputy Superintendent of Police and to Chief of District Police. 7.0 CONCLUSION Decision making is the process of sufficiently reducing uncertainty and doubt about alternatives to allow a reasonable choice to be made from among them. This definition stresses the information gathering function of decision making. It should be noted here that uncertainty is reduced rather than eliminated. Very few decisions are made with absolute certainty because complete knowledge about all the alternatives is seldom possible. Thus, every decision making involves a certain amount of risk. Decision making in organizations is often pictured as a coherent and rational process in which alternative interests and perspectives are considered in an orderly manner until the optimal alternative is selected. The organization must be less complex, less centralized, have a higher degree of occupational differentiation and a lower degree of administrative density. This case study provides a foundation for how these terms can be defined and operationalized in the organization. The effectiveness of delivering the process of decision making and quality of communication that happened will determine how successful an organization in term of mission, vision and objectives will be. REFERENCE Bayley, David H. (2004). Police for the Future. New York: Oxford University Press Clarke L. Caywood. (2004). The Handbook Of Strategic Public Relations & Integrated Communications. NY: McGraw-Hill Professional David P. Norton, James Coffey (2007) Building an Organized Process for Strategy Communication. NY: Harvard Business School Publishing Desanctis, Gerardine and Janet Fulk (eds.). (1999). Shaping Organizational Form: Communication, Connection, and Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Israel, Jerold H.; Kamisar, Yale; LaFave, Wayne R. (2003). Criminal Procedure and the Constitution: Leading Supreme Court Cases and Introductory Text. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing. Karl Erik Rosengren. (2004).Communication: An Introduction. London: Sage T. F. Cawsey, Gene Deszca (2007) Toolkit for Organizational Change. NY: Sage Publications Vernon J. Geberth (2007) Practical Homicide Investigation Roca Baton FL: CRC Press Wayne R. LaFave, Jerold H. Israel, Nancy J. King (2004) Principles of Criminal Procedure: Investigation NY: Thomson/West Warburton, H., May, T., Sharma, J. and Hough, M. (Forthcoming) A Research Summary: Police Complainants and their Motivations. London: South Bank University.
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