Skip to main content

Home | About us | Policies | N62 Major crime reviews

N62 Major crime reviews

1. Security protective marking

1.1. Not protectively marked.

2. Summary of changes to policy

2.1. The following changes were made to this policy on 31st March 2010:

  • previous policy centred on undetected homicides, where as this policy includes the formal review of other serious offences e.g. rape, together with child deaths, domestic abuse homicides and MAPPA reviews.

2.2. This policy is due for review in March 2013.

3. Application

3.1. This policy applies to:

      • Serious Case Review Team (Force Headquarters (FHQ))
      • Detective Chief Superintendent Crime and Intelligence
      • Detective Superintendent Public Protection Unit (PPU)
      • Area Senior Management Team
      • Assistant Chief Constable Specialist Operations
      • Senior Investigating Officers


4. Purpose

4.1. There is a need to constantly review the way in which serious cases of crime are investigated. This policy is designed to provide direction for those commissioning or conducting case reviews arising from a diversity of circumstances. 


5. Serious case reviews 

5.1. Serious case reviews will encompass the following:

      • contemporary cases of unresolved homicide conducted under guidelines published by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Crime Committee;
      • contemporary serious crime (other) to include stranger rape and serious assaults;
      • consideration should be given to the review of pro-active operations;
      • historic or cold case reviews of unresolved homicides and stranger rapes;
      • child death reviews conducted in accordance with Chapter 7 of Working Together to Safeguard Children;
      • review of the precursor events leading to a domestic abuse homicide;
      • review of the precursor events leading to a person committing an index offence whilst on the sex or violent offenders register i.e. MAPPA reviews;
      • review of the precursor events leading to a homicide of a vulnerable adult; and
      • thematic reviews.


6. The review process

6.1. Contemporary homicide and serious crime investigations


6.1.1. Formal reviews will be conducted in accordance with ACPO guidance.


6.1.2. To be commissioned by Assistance Chief Constable (ACC) Specialist Operations or Detective Chief Superintendent Crime and Intelligence.


6.1.3. Written terms of reference will be produced before the review is undertaken. These reviews will take place in respect of cases which have not been resolved after a period of 28 days.


6.1.4. Reviews will be conducted in a manner which supports the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) in identifying investigative opportunities.


6.1.5. At the conclusion of the review a report will be submitted to the commissioner. It will highlight any lessons learnt and areas of good practice and should include recommendations in relation to the progress of an investigation.


6.1.6. A serious case review board will be held at three monthly intervals which will consider the recommendations and, where accepted, will be responsible for their implementation.


6.1.7. Consideration should be given to commissioning an outside force to conduct reviews where specialist experience a higher degree of independence would be beneficial.


6.2. Informal reviews


6.2.1 Basic Command Units (BCUs) and FHQ supervisors should conduct or facilitate informal, peer and ad hoc reviews as an alternative, prelude or complementary to the formal process.


7. Serious case abuse reviews

7.1. Such reviews are commissioned by the Kent and Medway Children Safeguarding Board in conjunction with the Chief Constable and the Detective Superintendent PPU usually following a death of a child which has been abused or neglected.


7.2. These reviews should be conducted in conjunction with other agencies predominately Social Services, health and education. They are imbedded to examine the involvement of agencies leading up to the child's death or abuse.


7.3. Protocols for conducting these reviews are contained within Chapter 7 of Working Together to Safeguard Children.


7.4. The concluding report will be presented to the Detective Superintendent Public Protection Unit who will be responsible for submitting it to the relevant Children Safeguarding Board.


8. Historic or cold case reviews


8.1. Unresolved homicides and stranger rapes will be reviewed every two years. These reviews will largely centre on identifying future forensic opportunities. The process of managing these reviews will be the responsibility of the Serious Case Review Team in conjunction with the Major Crime Department.


8.2. In order to facilitate this process it is the responsibility of the SIO to ensure their cases are the subject of a closing report, and that case papers and exhibits are properly packaged and stored.


 9. Reviews following domestic abuse homicides


9.1. The purpose of such a review is to consider events leading to the homicide of an individual who has died as a result of domestic abuse. They are not intended to be reviews of the homicide investigation itself. Their purpose is to identify and comment on previous police and other agency involvement with the victim and the perpetrator. Learning opportunities should be identified and recommendations made to assist in preventing future homicides.


9.2. In the absence of anticipated legislation, these reviews will be commissioned at the discretion of the Detective Superintendent, PPU. In appropriate cases such reviews should involve other agencies.


9.3. The concluding report will be presented to the Detective Superintendent, PPU who will be responsible for passing on findings and recommendations to relevant parties.  


10. Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) reviews


10.1. Persons who are included on the sex or violent offenders register and who commit serious offences similar to their index offence should be considered as suitable for review. This may also include persons who have been subjected to the Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPP) process but who have not been registered. If commissioned the review will consider events leading to the offence. In particular the review should include a scrutiny of the risk assessment process and protection plans in place prior to the homicide.


10.2. Such reviews, where possible, should involve other agencies.


10.3. In the absence of anticipated legislation these reviews will be commissioned at the direction of the Detective Superintendent PPU.


11. Vulnerable adult reviews


11.1. Offences of homicide committed against persons who are considered vulnerable should be considered for review. Such persons may be suffering from either a physical or mental disability. The review process will consider events leading to the offence and in particular comment on the risk assessment process and actions intended to protect the individual concerned.


11.2. Such reviews, where possible, should involve other agencies.


11.3. In the absence of legislation these reviews will be commissioned at the direction of the Detective Superintendent PPU.


12. Thematic reviews

12.1. This type of review may be used as a means of considering policy or working practice in relation to particular types of criminal investigation or reactive police activity e.g. kidnap, rape, vulnerable missing persons etc.


12.2. Thematic reviews should be commissioned by the ACC Specialist Operations, the Detective Chief Superintendent (Crime and Intelligence) or the Detective Superintendent (PPU) who will also produce written terms of reference.


13. Disclosure 

13.1.  Reviewing Officers should be mindful that review reports fall within the provisions of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996.

13.2.  Where a review report has been written it will be the responsibility of the SIO to ensure the report is disclosed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The SIOs should discuss with the CPS any ramifications associated with disclosing the report and where appropriate consider whether the report or parts of the report should be subject of Public Interest Immunity (PII) status and there disclose using the sensitive issues schedule.

14. Retention and disposal of records

14.1. Documents mentioned in the above policy will be retained for the period specified in the supporting disposal schedule.

14. Equality impact assessment

14.1. This policy has been assessed with regard to its relevance to race and diversity equality. As a result of this assessment the policy has been graded as having a low potential impact.


14.2. Attached is the latest equality impact assessment that forms part of the policy review process.

Policy reference: N62 Major crime reviews
Policy owner: Detective Chief Superintendent, Crime and Intelligence
Contact point: Policy Unit, 01622 654662
Date last reviewed: 31 March 2010
Document last saved: 23 December 2011