Historically, homicide investigations have been a very ‘closed’ environment, an area of work where experience and learning was very rarely shared, with investigators guarding knowledge and details of their investigations. However, thanks to the development of the Operation Phoenix system this practice is now beginning to change.
Unique in concept and design, the system, developed by Strathclyde Police and the VRU, aims to revolutionise homicide investigations by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise from experienced investigators throughout the country. In addition, the system is an extremely powerful analytical engine, allowing in depth analysis of homicides in a way not previously possible. It also provides an accurate, up to date data set in relation to homicides, drawing together information which would have previously been very difficult and time consuming to retrieve, creating a ‘one stop shop’ for all data in relation to homicides.
Specialists can only be taught so much in a classroom. The real learning comes from working on enquiries in the real world. By sharing experience and knowledge there is an opportunity to not only avoid pitfalls, but also to identify shared issues and concerns and find resolution. However, the most important aspect is to not only identify good practice but also flag up poor practice. Sometimes learning comes out of failure; investigating homicides is a complex task with the SIO having to make hundreds of decisions on a daily basis and even those with years of experience will encounter new issues and challenges.
The wealth of information stored within the Operation Phoenix system can be accessed in two ways:
- Investigators can access the system though a Web Based Application which provides round the clock access to the information
- Analysts can interrogate and examine the data in the system through i2 Analysts Workstation which facilitates the creation of network charts, time lines, maps and graphs.
Currently live in Strathclyde, Phoenix will be rolled out across Scotland during 2012.
If you would like more information on the project please contact the Operation Phoenix team at OperationPhoenix@strathclyde.pnn.police.uk
Find out more - Operation Phoenix practice note