Commissioner's Directive 568-4
Preservation of Crime Scenes and Evidence
In Effect: 2019-01-21
- Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), section 10
- Criminal Code, section 2
To provide direction for the preservation of crime scenes and evidence through procedural safeguards
To ensure that the preservation of life takes precedence over the preservation of crime scenes and evidence
Applies to all staff involved in the preservation of crime scenes and evidence in institutional and community settings
- Police Notification
- Response to Medical Emergencies
- Protecting the Crime Scene
- Preservation of Evidence
- Preservation of Firearm(s)
- Preservation of Electronic Evidence
- Transfer of Responsibility
- Annex A - Cross-References and Definitions
- The Security Intelligence Officer in institutions and in the community is designated as the primary police liaison. In cases where the Security Intelligence Officer in the community is unavailable, the Area Director or Parole Officer Supervisor will assume these responsibilities.
- When an incident occurs during off-hours and the Security Intelligence Officer is unavailable, the Correctional Manager, Operational Desk, will designate a staff member as the primary police liaison.
- The Security Intelligence Officer and other staff members will adhere to the responsibilities outlined in GL 800-4 – Response to Medical Emergencies.
- For any staff member who comes across a possible crime scene:
- the staff member should use protective equipment as required
- the priority will be the preservation of life by ensuring appropriate medical attention
- access to the scene will be limited, contained and controlled until the appropriate security staff member assumes responsibility for the crime scene (a community staff member will, to the extent possible, control access to the scene until police take over)
- the staff member will contact the Institutional Head/District Director to advise of the situation pursuant to the Annexes of CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents.
- In the case of an apparent attempted suicide, or suicide, or a death resulting from unknown causes, the provisions of this policy with respect to the protection of the incident scene and preservation of evidence will apply until it is determined not to be a crime scene.
- In the case of an apparent attempted suicide, or suicide, or a death resulting from unknown causes involving an Indigenous individual, or an individual who follows a traditional healing path, the provisions of this policy with respect to the protection of the incident scene and preservation of evidence will be applied in consultation with an Elder/Spiritual Advisor or Indigenous Liaison Officer before and after the incident scene is determined not to be a crime scene. If consultation is required during off-hours, all attempts should be made to contact the Elder/Spiritual Advisor or Indigenous Liaison Officer.
- In the case where a ceremonial object is considered as possible evidence in a crime, an Elder/Spiritual Advisor or Indigenous Liaison Officer will be notified immediately. The latter will provide information on the proper handling of any ceremonial, cultural, or spiritually-based evidence in cooperation with the Security Intelligence Officer, until the investigation is handed over to other authorities.
- For occurrences that may involve offenders, staff and/or visitors, the Correctional Manager, Operational Desk, must notify the police force of primary jurisdiction:
- immediately in all cases where there is:
- an individual that is found deceased
- an injury or harm resulting from the commission of a crime, which may require immediate hospitalization and/or outside medical attention
- a sexual assault or an allegation of sexual assault
- as soon as possible for occurrences where there is:
- assault of an offender, a staff member, or a visitor resulting in non-serious bodily injuries, which may require medical attention
- seizure of large amounts of drugs, which necessitates police involvement.
- For all other occurrences, staff should use their discretion in determining whether to notify the police while evaluating factors such as nature and gravity of the occurrence, level of medical intervention required, volume and value of the seized contraband, etc.
- All operational units are expected to report occurrences to Regional and National Headquarters as outlined in Annexes C, D and E of CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents.
- The Correctional Manager, Operational Desk, will inform the Security Intelligence Officer as soon as possible that the police have been notified following an occurrence listed in this section.
Response to Medical Emergencies
- All medical emergencies will be responded to in accordance with GL 800-4 – Response to Medical Emergencies.
Protecting the Crime Scene
- Pursuant to CD 600 – Management of Emergencies in Operational Units:
- the safety, interests and well-being of staff and members of the public at large must be safeguarded
- offenders will be treated in a safe, secure and humane fashion.
- A possible crime scene must be treated with the utmost care so as to not contaminate or destroy evidence. The following minimum protocol will be adhered to in order to protect the crime scene:
- establish a perimeter to protect the scene
- record the names and times of every individual who enters and/or leaves the scene and ensure it is captured on the Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875) (see Instructions – Statement/Observation Report [CSC/SCC 0875-01])
- remove non-involved persons to protect the integrity of the scene
- forbid any unauthorized persons from entering the crime scene or contaminating any evidence
- prevent any damage or further damage to the scene
- maintain control of the scene until relieved by a designated officer or by police
- provide a briefing to the person assuming control of the scene so they are aware of the situation and evidence at the scene.
- In addition, staff must record the following on the Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875):
- the time the briefing occurred
- details of the briefing
- the name and rank of the person assuming control of the scene
- the time that the person assumed control of the scene.
Preservation of Evidence
- The following steps will be taken to preserve evidence:
- avoid contaminating evidence to the extent possible
- do not move anything, including the body of a deceased, unless absolutely necessary to ensure compliance with policy requirements respecting the preservation of crime scenes and evidence and the safeguarding of staff and inmate well-being
- photograph and/or video record the scene as well as individual objects, including the body of the deceased, if present
- should it be necessary to move the body of the deceased, ensure to photograph and/or video record before and after the body is moved
- protect evidence from the elements. In some instances, it may be necessary to erect barriers and/or change normal routine within an institution to ensure the preservation of the crime scene
- record and identify any evidence found or moved (i.e. what, where, by whom, when and why) on a Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875)
- the person who discovers evidence must preserve its integrity and maintain its continuity, in accordance with CD 568-5 – Management of Seized Items, until it can be handed over to the Security Intelligence Officer and/or police or designated seizure control officer
- keep each piece of evidence separate from other pieces of evidence in order to prevent cross-contamination
- use fresh nitrile/latex gloves when handling each separate piece of evidence in order to prevent the transfer of any DNA evidence
- use a paper bag for blood-stained items and another paper bag for dry items, as appropriate
- staff who have witnessed the incident will complete a Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875)
- in cases where police have been contacted, consultation will occur between the Security Intelligence Officer and the police to determine who will take witness statements from individuals other than CSC staff
- if the Security Intelligence Officer takes statements from witnesses, these statements are to be recorded on a Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875).
Preservation of Firearm(s)
- Any firearm that is secured as evidence following its use in an incident will remain secured in the armoury or sub-armoury by the Security Maintenance Officer for 30 working days following the conclusion of any CSC investigative process.
- The Security Maintenance Officer will confirm with the Security Intelligence Officer if the investigation is completed prior to releasing the firearm from the armoury or sub-armoury. A firearm may remain secured for a longer period than the 30 working days if required by any other investigative, prosecutorial or other body acting in an official capacity.
Preservation of Electronic Evidence
- In the case where an electronic device (i.e., computer, portable storage device, BlackBerry, smartphone, tablet, laptop, hand-held recorder, etc.) is considered possible evidence in a crime, the Chief, Information Technology Client Services, and the Manager, Information Technology Security, will be notified. The latter will provide guidance on the proper protection of any computer-based evidence in cooperation with the Security Intelligence Officer.
- Following a suicide, an attempted suicide, a death resulting from unknown causes, or any other incident that may result in a national investigation or that may require police or outside agency involvement, staff must ensure that the following recordings are secured:
- Main Communication Control Post recordings and other recordings of the incident
- all recordings from the time of the incident to when the offender was last seen alive (i.e. last stand-to count or meal).
Transfer of Responsibility
- Persons responsible for scene protection, preservation and continuity of evidence will continue to perform one or all of those functions until the scene/evidence is taken over by the police. When evidence is handed over to any law enforcement agency and prior to leaving the scene of the incident, the Security Intelligence Officer (or staff member performing the security intelligence function) will ensure a Transmittal Note and Receipt (GC 044A) is completed and signed by both parties.
Original signed by:
Cross-References and Definitions
CD 001 – Mission, Values and Ethics Framework of the Correctional Service of Canada
CD 568 – Management of Security Information and Intelligence
CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents
CD 568-5 – Management of Seized Items
CD 568-8 – Authority for Use of Surveillance Equipment
CD 600 – Management of Emergencies in Operational Units
CD 702 – Indigenous Offenders
CD 800 – Health Services
GL 800-4 – Response to Medical Emergencies
Ceremonial objects: objects deemed to be sacred, spiritual, or ceremonial in nature. Also referred to as “personal spiritual effects”.
Crime scene: the location where an illegal act may have taken place or a location wherein evidence of a crime may be located.
Cross-contamination: the adulteration of one piece of evidence by another piece of evidence (e.g. the transfer of blood, cloth fibres or hair from one article to another).
Evidence: anything that tends to prove or disprove an alleged fact.
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