When Scene of Crime Officers arrive at a crime scene, one SOCO will be appointed to carry out an initial scene assessment. Within this assessment the SOCO will record a description of the crime scene, this will entail information such as was the doors open or closed, were light on within the house or off etc. An initial scene assessment is required to be done so before Scene of Crime Officers begin their evidence collection, this is so a record of the description of the scene is taken before anything was collected or moved.
Within the initial scene assessment a sketch will also be taken of the crime scene. This will be a brief plan of the overall layout of the scene of the crime. This is so there is a record of where evidence was found, before it was collected or moved. A sketch is drawn so that officers, who were not present at the crime scene but will be involved within the investigation, will have an overall look on the crime scene layout.
Photographs will also be taken before Scene of Crime Officers begin to collect evidence, photographs will be taken from all areas around the crime scene. These photographs will also back up the sketch of the crime scene; however they will provide a more detailed image of the crime scene.
The O.J. Simpson Case
At the murder scene of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, an initial scene assessment was carried out. However,this assessment was not carried out in the appropriate format. Meaning that the Scene of Crime Officers did not carry out this assessment, yet each individual lead detective within the case carried one out. Despite the initial assessment being carried out by different lead detectives, information was not shared between them, this meant that if information was lost and became easily confusing.
As Robert Riske was eager to clear the scene, this meant that certain procedures such as the initial scene assessment was not carried out accurately and professionally. This lead to major problems caused within the investigation, as by procedures not being carried out appropriately this allowed the defence to argue that evidence taken from the crime scene was not valid.