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A REPORT ON THE

SCENE OF CRIME OPERATION (SOCO)


MANUAL

Submitted by:

Angelica D. Amurao
Arianne B. Melegrito
Rosel Joy A. Provido
I. SCENE OF CRIME OPERATION (SOCO):
Scene of Crime Operation is a forensic procedure performed by trained personnel of the
PNP Crime Laboratory through scientific methods of investigation for the purpose of
preserving the crime scene, gathering information, documentation, collection, and
examination of all physical evidence.

II. AUTHORITY:
1. Chapter 3, Section 24, paragraph c and Section 35 of RA 6975.
2. PNP CL SO # 01-95 dtd Nov 16, 1995

III. MISSION:
The SOCO shall provide forensic expertise to criminal investigation by preserving, securing,
and if need be, by scientifically reconstructing the crime scene for the collection,
documentation, and forensic examination of all collected physical evidence with the end in
view of establishing fact/s relative to a criminal incident.

IV. OBJECTIVES:
1. To conduct forensic investigations through the methodical means of collection,
examination, preservation, and presentation of all evidence for the final disposition of
criminal cases.
2. To enable the police investigating/line units to expeditiously identify and arrest the
criminal perpetrators through the collected and examined physical evidence.
3. To establish the facts before the competent courts based on collected and examined
physical evidence.
4. To strictly adhere to the protocols governing forensic science.
5. To progressively acquire new technology and human skills to ensure that the operational
capabilities shall be consistent with the continuous and evolving threats to public safety.

V. SOCO FUNCTIONS:
1. It shall determine and delineate the crime scene.
2. It shall preserve and ensure the protection of the crime scene.
3. It shall conduct methodical search for all available evidence in the crime scene.
4. It shall methodically document the crime scene.
5. It shall methodically collect and transport all available physical evidence from the crime
scene to the PNP Crime Laboratory for purposes of appropriate forensic examinations.
6. As required, it shall present before any competent court and/or any legally mandated
agency its forensic findings and the expert testimonies of the SOCO elements.

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VI. GENERAL SOCO PROCEDURES:

1. Preparation Prior to the Conduct of SOCO


1.1. Ensure the availability of packaging and collection materials necessary for typical search
circumstance.
I.2. Prepare the preliminary format for the paperwork needed to document the conduct of
the search.
I.3. Discuss upcoming search with the involved personnel.
I.4. Make preliminary personnel assignments before arrival at scene, if practicable.
I.5. Consider the safety and comfort of search personnel. Be prepared for probable
impediments which maybe poised by weather or terrain. Ensure that basic crime scene
search equipments are functional. These should consist of the communication, lighting, first
aid, and security equipments.
I.6. Ensure that all SOCO Team elements tasked to enter the crime scene must be wearing
surgical gloves and other protective gears as maybe necessary.
I.7. Assess the personnel assignments normally required to successfully process a crime
scene and ensure that such assignments are in keeping with the training, experience,
attitude, and aptitude of each individual.

2. Crime Scene Approach


2.1. Be alert for discarded evidence.
2.2. Make pertinent notes about the condition of the Crime Scene based on the systematic
observation & scene assessment.
2.3. Establish frame-of-mind to take control of scene regardless of circumstance observed on
arrival.
2.4. Consider personnel safety.

3. Preliminary Crime Scene Survey.

3.1. The survey is an organizational stage to a planned search.


3.2. A cautious walk-through of the scene must be accomplished by the Team Leader.
3.3. The SOCO Team Leader provides and ensures the operational focus of the Team.
3.4. Select appropriate narrative description techniques that should provide answers to the
5 W’s & 1H.
3.5. Organize methods and procedures needed to recognize special problem areas.
3.6. Identify and protect transient physical evidence.
3.7. Make an extensive narrative notes on the physical and environmental conditions of the
crime scene based on the exact locations of items found thereat and condition of the crime
scene as received from the investigator on case.
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4. Evaluation of Physical Evidence
4.1. This evaluation begins upon arrival at scene and becomes detailed in preliminary survey
stage.
4.2. Based on preliminary survey, establish evidence types most likely to be encountered.
4.3. Ensure that collection and packaging equipment is sufficient for task at hand.
4.4. Ensure that all personnel are aware of the great variety of possible evidence.
4.5. Focus first on the easily accessible areas in open view and progress eventually to
possible out-of-view locations.
4.6. Consider whether the evidence appears to have been moved inadvertently.
4.7. Evaluate whether or not the scene and evidence appears intentionally contrived.

5 Narrative description of the Crime Scene


5.1. The narrative is a running, general terms description of the condition of the crime scene.
5.2. Photography supplements narrative description of the crime scene.
5.3. Do not permit narrative effort to degenerate into a sporadic and unorganized attempt
to recover physical evidence.

6. Crime Scene Photography / Videography


6.1. Begin photographing the crime scene as soon as possible.
6.2. Document the photographic effort with a photograph log.
6.3. Ensure that a progression of overall, medium and close up views of the scene is
established.
6.4. Photograph evidence in place before its collection and packaging.
6.5. Photograph items, places etc., to corroborate the statement of witnesses, victims,
suspects.
6.6. Take photographs from eye level, when feasible, to represent scene as would be
observed by normal view.
6.7. Prior to lifting latent fingerprints, photographs should be taken.

7. Sketch of Crime Scene


7.1. The diagram establishes permanent records of items, conditions and distance/size
relationships – diagram supplement photographs.
7.2. Number designations on sketch should be coordinated with same number designations
on evidence log.
7.3. The sketch should contain sufficient measurements and details to be used as a model
for drawn to scale diagram, or indicate a disclaimer if not drawn to scale.

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8. Detailed Crime Scene Search
8.1. Conduct search in a general manner and work to the specifics regarding evidence
items.
8.2. Photograph all items before collection and enter notation in photographic log.
8.3. Mark evidence locations on diagram/sketch.
8.4. Do not handle evidence excessively after recovery.
8.5. Seal all evidence containers at the crime scene.

9. Physical Evidence Recording and Collection


9.1. Tag and photograph evidence in place before collection.
9.2. Methodically record the recovered evidence. Mark evidence (mark item itself whenever
feasible)
9.3. Place identifying marks in evidence containers.

10. Final Crime Scene Survey


10.1. Discuss search jointly with all personnel for completeness.
10.2. Double-check documentation to detect inadvertent errors.
10.3. Check to ensure all evidence is accounted for before departing the scene.
10.4. Ensure all equipment used in the search is gathered.
10.5. Make sure possible hiding places or difficult access areas have not been overlooked
in detailed search.

11. Turn-Over/Release of Crime Scene to Investigator-On-Case


II.1. Ensure that appropriate inventory has been provided.
II.2. Release the scene with the notion that there is only one chance to perform the job
correctly and completely.
II.3. Release is accomplished only after completion of the final survey and proper
documentation.
VII. SUPPLETORY PROVISIONS TO THE GENERAL PROCEDURES
VII.I. In clandestine laboratories and bombing cases/incidents, the EOD should clear the area
first and declare it secured prior to the conduct of SOCO. Moreover, these are considered as
special situations whereby the Forensic Chemical Officer (FOCO) shall be tasked to
undertake the initial scene assessments and advice the SOCO Team Leader as to how the
sequence of the crime scene investigation shall be undertaken.
VII.2. In suspected and/or reported chemical, biological, radiological, and/or nuclear
(CBRN) situation, the SOCO Team shall directly coordinate with the Special Rescue/CBRN
Team of the Bureau of Fire Protection prior to the conduct of crime scene investigation. This

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shall be the standard operational procedure pending the capability acquisition of the PNP
Crime Laboratory for CBRN situation.
VII.3. In mass victim situation, the SOCO Team, in addition to its fundamental function, shall
act as the first responder of the Interim Disaster Victim Identification Task Group (IDVI TG)
of the PNP Crime Laboratory. It shall immediately assess the forensic specialists needed to
be deployed at the crime scene and relay the assessed requirements to HQs PNP Crime
Laboratory.

VII.4. Situation/incidents may occur whereby the functional expertise of a forensic specialist
is critical and/or would provide better command of the SOCO. The SOCO Team Leader must
immediately take cognizance of these situations and put to task the forensic specialist in
assessing the situation and recommending as to how the SOCO shall be sequentially
conducted.

VII.5. The PNP Crime Laboratory strictly adheres to the cardinal forensic protocol of
objectivity albeit such adherence does not preclude the basic human sensibilities and respect
for the dead. The SOCO Team shall expedite the transfer of a cadaver in the crime scene to
an accredited morgue for further forensic examinations after its position has been accurately
sketched, photographed, properly documented, and all other essential forensic procedures
needed to be performed at the crime scene had been completed. Further, the SOCO Team
shall exercise ethical judgment by ensuring that no photograph of the cadaver shall be taken
other than for the purpose of criminal investigation.

VIII. TYPES OF SEARCH

VIII.1. Quadrant or Zone search method

In this method, one searcher is assigned to a quadrant, then each quadrant is cut into
another set of quadrants.

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VIII.2. Strip or Line search method

In this method, the area is blocked out in the form of a rectangle. The searcher proceeds
slowly at the same pace along path parallel to one side of the rectangle. When a piece of
evidence is found, the finder announces his discovery and the search must stop until the
evidence has been cared of. A photographer is called, if necessary. The evidence is collected
and tagged and the search proceeds at a given signal. At the end of the rectangle, the searcher
turns and proceeds along new lanes as shown in the above illustration.

VIII.3. Spiral search method

In this method, the searchers follow each other along the path of a spiral, beginning on the
outside and spiralling in toward the center.

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VIII.4. Grid or double strip search method

The grid or double strip method of search is a modification of strip search method. Here, the
rectangle is traverse first parallel to the base then parallel to the side. This is ideal for
Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Operation.

VIII.5. Wheel search method

In this method of search, the area is considered to be approximately circular. The searchers
gather at the center and proceed outward along radii or spokes. The procedure should be
repeated several times depending on the size of the circle and the number of searchers. One
shortcoming of this method is the great increase in the area to be observed as the searcher
departs from the center. Another is the possibility of evidence contamination or destruction
with the likelihood that the searchers will step on them as they converge at the center.

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IX. SOCO TEAM ORGANIZATION

IX.1. Basic Individual Attribute


The Scene of Crime of Operation is considered as a specialized type of police operation
wherein PNP personnel may opt to take as their Primary Police Occupational Specialization
(POS). Being such, designation to the SOCO Team shall be based on CIA (Conduct, Industry,
and Aptitude) Parameters.

IX.2. Training
All personnel projected to be detailed with the SOCO Team must undergo the Scene of
Crime Operation Course. The SOCO Course shall be a mandatory course for all PNP Crime
Laboratory personnel mandated to be detailed with SOCO Team prior to their detail with
the different technical division and/or crime laboratory office. They must also undergo
mandatory training on basic First Aid Course.

IX.3. Basic SOCO Composition/Tasks


IX.3.1 Team Leader
- Responsible for the performance and work product of the SOCO and its individual
members at crime scenes.
- Assume Control – ensure safety of personnel and security at scene, including the
designation of a trained individual responsible for assessing potentially hazardous
conditions/environments at the scene.

- Conduct initial work-through for purposes of safety, making preliminary survey,


evaluation of potential evidence, and preparing a narrative description.
- Designate command post location and ensure exchange of information between search
and investigative personnel.
- Determine search patterns and make appropriate assignments for team members.
- Coordinate with other law enforcement agencies and make sure a cooperative spirit is
maintained.
- Ensure that sufficient supplies and equipment are available for personnel – consider shift
planning.
- Control access to the scene and designate an individual to log everyone into the scene.

Act as PIO/Spokesperson at the Crime Scene.


- Responsible for the consolidation/compilation of reports, documents, and evidence
gathered by the reinforcing SOCO Team that provide support at the Crime Scene.
- Continuously re-evaluate efficiency of search during entire course of operation.
- Release the scene after a final survey and inventory of the evidence.

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IX.3 2. Photographer

- Photograph entire area before it is entered.


- Photograph victims, crowd and vehicles.
- Photograph entire scene with overall, medium and close-up coverage, using measurement
scale when appropriate.
- Photograph major evidence items before they are moved. Coordinate this effort with the
Sketcher, Evidence Custodian and Evidence Recovery Personnel.
- Photograph all latent fingerprints, and other impression evidence, before lifting and
casting is accomplished.
- Photograph blueprints, maps and previous photographs of scene, as required.
- Take final photographs to show final condition as released.

IX.3.3 Sketcher - Diagram immediate area of scene. It must be oriented to the North.
- Set forth on sketch major items of evidence and coordinate evidence nomenclature with
Evidence Custodian and Evidence Collectors/processors.
- Indicate adjacent buildings, rooms, furniture, and so forth, as needed.
- Designate and label areas to be searched and advise team leader and all other search
members of nomenclature for designated areas.
- Obtain appropriate assistance for taking measurements and list assistant (s) on sketch.
- Ensure necessary administrative information, such as scale disclaimer (not drawn to
scale), is recorded on sketch.

IX.3.4. Evidence Log Recorder/Custodian


- Prepare evidence recovery log.
- Coordinate evidence nomenclature with the Sketcher, Photographer and Evidence
Collector/processors.
- Record all evidence.
- Receive all evidence
- Undertake evidence packaging and preservation
- Maintain chain-of-custody of evidences.
- Coordinate transmittal of evidence to the concerned laboratory technical division for
examination

IX.3.5. Driver/Security - Coordinate with the supply PNCO to ensure that the vehicle is
properly maintained

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- Provide physical security to the SOCO elements and equipment

IX.3.6. Evidence Processor/Collector – This generally refers to the different forensic


specialists, who by virtue of their specialization, are necessary to identify, collect, examine,
and present before the courts evidence at the crime scene. The services of these forensic
specialists shall be attached to the SOCO Team depending on the SOCO requirements of the
reported crime scene. There are crime incidence where not all forensic specialists are
needed to process the scene.

IX.4. Forensic Specialists Forensic Specialists refer to the PNP Crime Lab personnel who
by academic preparation, series of specialized trainings, and/or occupational exposure had
acquired the required technical expertise in any of the following PNP Crime Laboratory’s
core competencies:
IX.4.1. Biological Science or any of its branches
IX.4.2. Physical Science or any of its branches
IX.4.3. Physical Identification
IX.4.4. Firearms Identification
IX.4.5. Fingerprint Identification
IX.4.6. Document Examination
IX.4.7. Polygraph Examination
IX.4.8. Forensic Photography

X. SOCO EQUIPMENTS AND OTHER LOGISTICAL SUPPORT


X.1 SOCO Team Element’s Uniform – The individual elements uniform shall be constituted
by the following:
X.1.1 SOCO Uniform _ It shall be the UESB approved uniform
X.1.2 Personal Equipment Rig
X.1.3 Firearm
X.1.4 UV Blacklight/ 3 ALS/Polylite
X.1.5 Hand Gloves/shoe covers
X.1.6 Poncho (Raincoat with reflector)

X.2. Team Equipment - The SOCO Van must contain the following basic equipments
X.2.1 Search Light
X.2.2 Medical Litter – This shall be utilized by the SOCO Team in moving the injured from
the crime scene to the vehicle that would transport it to the nearest hospital in the absence
of first aid responders.

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X.2.3 Medical First Aid Kit – This shall be standardized equipment as part of the SOCO
capability to respond to medical emergencies.
X.2.4 Radio Communication Equipment – This shall be the standard issued communication
equipment to afford communication between the SOCO Team and the Crime Laboratory
Office.
X.2.5. SOCO Kit
X.2.6. PBI Kit
X.2.7 One (1) Long Firearm – The SOCO Van shall have one (1) long firearm with one (1)
corresponding basic ammunition load as team defense equipment to be handled by the
security personnel.

XI. SUPPLETORY ADMINISTRATIVE RULES AND PROCEDURES

XI.1 Stand on the Tri-Media and Prescribed Relationship

The PNP Crime Laboratory as a part of the law enforcement institution shall respect the
inherent right to information of the public albeit consequential to this fundamental respect
is the affirmation that objectivity shall govern the conduct of crime scene investigation.
Hence, the following are the prescribed rules on media inquiries:

XI.1.1 On crime scene, only the SOCO Team Leader is authorized to provide answers to the
inquiries from the media. The reply must only state the available facts. The Team Leader
must not, in whatever manner, relay any information that could elicit multiple and
subjective inferences or interpretations. In the absence of concrete objective data, the Team
Leader shall courteously beg off to answer inquiries and inform the media that the inquiries
shall be answered after laboratory examinations had been conducted and with clearance
from the criminal investigator on case and/or line or investigating unit conducting the
investigation.

XI.1.2 The SOCO Team Leader must exercise professional maturity to ensure that his reply
to the media inquiries must not in whatever manner impede on the conduct of the criminal
investigation.

XI.1.3 Post Crime Scene Investigation inquiry from the media shall be cleared first from the
Director, PNP CL.

XI.1.4 The PNP Crime Laboratory recognizes the vital role that the media play in enhancing
the community awareness of protecting and preserving the crime scene. Efforts in direct
coordination with the media shall be initiated for this purpose.

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X1.2 Crime Scene Protection and Preservation Trainings – The PNP Crime Laboratory shall
continuously conduct periodic crime scene protection trainings for the first responders.

X1.3. Precedence of Authority – The organic SOCO Team of the RCLO or DCLO having
responsibility over the area of incident shall be the Office Primary Responsible (OPR) and
reinforcing SOCO Teams from HQs PNP CL and other RCLOs/DCLOs shall provide support.

X1.4 Coordination - Direct and lateral coordination with PNP units and other law
enforcement units for the purpose of crime scene protection, preservation, and evidence
collection is highly encouraged.

X1.5 Training Designs – Periodic evaluation of the SOCO Program of Instructions shall be
undertaken to ensure that it is current and prospective.

Reference:

SCENE OF CRIME OPERATION MANUAL (CIRCULAR NUMBER_01-06_ CLC – ADO – 01)

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