Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation Research Paper

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Often narrowly depicted as the contribution of science to the production of evidence for courts, forensic science fundamentally relies on the extraction of information from physical traces that are remnants of a past action. By searching, scrutinizing, and testing physical traces, forensic scientists gain pieces of information that can bring significant contribution to different dimensions or phases of criminal inquiry.

The practice of this discipline alone does not really make any sense, as it is intimately dependent of the context and the expectations of the criminal inquiry. The decision to attend a scene as well as the process of physical traces detection and collection do not solely respond to technical considerations. They are influenced by different dimensions of knowledge available (such as the physical, immediate, and criminal environments) as well as by policing issues. Considering the distinct phases of a criminal inquiry reveals the manifold functions of the use of physical traces. The exploitation of physical traces provides intelligence or leads that support police investigation, participating for instance to the search for the perpetrator. It plays a crucial role in the reconstruction of the sequence of actions and the clarification of events by putting the information gained from the traces to context. Ultimately, the structuring and thorough interpretation of this information may also lead to the constitution of evidence to be presented and evaluated in court.

Beyond its use within the investigation of a specific case, physical traces hold a potential, still underexploited, to reveal or reinforce connections between offenses, unveiling the extent of a criminal activity or phenomenon. Moreover, the value of physical traces as vectors of information continuously bursts the context of criminal inquiry, expanding its contribution to issues related to security or criminology.

This perspective changes the traditional view on what is expected from forensic science. Requirements and needs are intelligence-led or the result of a trade-off between many parameters imposed by the actual inquiry, rather than based on the routine use of specialized techniques and methods essentially dedicated to the production of evidence for court. This dramatically impacts the way quality is perceived as forensic operations at the different stages of the judicial inquiry achieve different objectives following intelligence, investigative or evaluative processes.

As an event occurs and is recognized as a potential dispute or even an offense, legal systems, whatever their differences and specificities, usually converge to a response in the form of an inquiry. The formal terms as well as the scope of this inquiry may be defined differently according to legal systems, but it generally remains the duty of police forces proceeding under the responsibility or supervision of judicial authorities. The inquiry will have many aspects and examine the event from several angles. One of them whose importance has been growing in the last decades is the use of natural and computer sciences in order to gain information, sometimes also evidence, from physical traces produced during the course of the event. This aspect of the inquiry falls under the prerogative of forensic police units that use the principles and methods belonging to criminalistics in order to detect, recover, record, collect, decipher, analyze, evaluate, and present relevant physical traces (see entry Forensic science culture). For several years, this discipline of the police activity has been attracting lots of attention by the media. Movies, reports, and TV shows provide a very compelling, yet skewed, aspect of the use of forensic science, strengthening the illusion of the primacy of science and technology on crime solving and having deleterious effects on several levels of the judicial system (Durnal 2010; Brodeur 2010). On another hand, the utility and efficiency of forensic science in terms of its impact on judicial outcomes or crime solving is questioned (Baskin and Sommers 2010; Brodeur 2010). For instance, the effectiveness of DNA testing, often depicted as the most powerful and reliable physical evidence, has turned to be undisputable for high-volume crimes such as burglary, but much lower for more serious crimes, often violent crimes (Wilson et al. 2010). Besides these two antinomic views of the utility of forensic science to the judicial inquiry, its true contribution is not straightforward and unique, but may occur on different dimensions or levels in the context of the judicial response following an event as well as for other law enforcement activities.

Physical Trace As Fundamental Object Of Forensic Science

Forensic science focuses its attention on physical traces that are produced during the course of an event, generally a litigious action. As first emphasized in the first half of the twentieth century by Edmond Locard, a French pioneer of criminalistics (see entry Forensic science culture), any criminal activity, considering the intensity it encompasses, implies the exchange of material and thus generates marks or what we call traces. The perpetrator of the action, more often unconsciously, leaves traces on the scene of the action (on the physical environment as on the victims), and he/she takes traces from the scene of the action. The intensity of the action influences the generation of physical traces as more violent or more severe events are prone to end up in massive exchange of traces. Traces then constitute the remnants of this action, its subsisting physical symptoms. By applying the scientific principles and methods of criminalistics, the forensic scientist aims at detecting physical traces, discriminating traces that are consecutive of the action from traces that are not relevant, and exploiting traces to gain information on the source – a person or an object – and/or the sequence of events that produced them. This approach is extremely challenging as the relevant traces may be dispersed on several, also often not known, locations and confused with “background” and/or “contamination” traces, i.e., traces produced by events anterior, respectively posterior, to the relevant action.

Physical traces are the vectors of information about a past action and, therefore, the fundamental element of forensic science scrutiny. But the information on the past carried by physical traces is more often than not fragmentary and does not enable to perfectly depict the sequence of events. Moreover, this information is not directly decipherable. Traces are symptoms of a specific event whose causes are not known and cannot be repeated, but has to be inferred from these symptoms. The detection and examination of physical traces lead to the construction of hypotheses about their causes (reasoning called “abduction” in Peirce’s semiotic). With the information that is thus gained, physical traces become signs that provide indications, with variable degrees of reliability and certainty, that serve to the process of reconstruction of the relevant events. These clues provide information that feeds different processes of the criminal justice system and even beyond, e.g., gathering intelligence for the police inquiry, supporting the structuring of evidence for court decisions, or revealing the structure of repetitive criminal activities. Forensic scientists exploit physical traces to gain pieces of information in an approach of systematic questioning, trying to contribute to the fundamental questions the justice faces: who, what, where, when, why, and how. It is obvious that physical traces alone cannot answer comprehensively these questions. The part of the story that scientific clues help to tell is completed by the use of “traditional” human-based information gathered during the police inquiry. Physical traces may corroborate or invalidate hypotheses generated by police investigation; they are also able to bring out new hypotheses leading to unsuspected investigative paths. In the very first steps of the judicial inquiry, generally devoted to police forces, physical traces are used in combination with other clues, such as testimonies for instance, to generate intelligence about an action under investigation (Barclay 2009). A key aspect of the investigation is to implement a collaborative approach between scientists and investigators in order to keep a global view on the case and to develop, as comprehensively as possible, realistic alternative hypotheses, devise an experimental approach to test hypotheses, and search for the most relevant use of specialists and instruments. This is why the forensic generalist, as opposed to the forensic specialist, has a pivotal role during the investigation. It avoids favoring or ruling out premature conjectures. However tempting is the tendency to follow a lead that is favored, such approach must be banned as it encompasses the major risk of neglecting some traces and wrongly reinforcing the confidence in the selected hypothesis (confirmation or contextual bias) (see entry Cognitive Forensics: Human Cognition, Contextual Information and Bias).

Physical Traces Search And Collection: Crime Scene Investigation

The existence of physical traces is linked to the remaining presence of substrates or traits in the location and at the time of their search. As noted previously, traces are unconsciously exchanged during litigious actions and constitute remnants of these actions after their completion. But the use of physical traces in a judicial inquiry entails first that they are searched, seen, recognized, documented, and perhaps, collected. These different steps are undertaken during a so-called crime scene investigation that is not only performed when a crime is committed, but whenever a confirmed or presumed litigious action has occurred. The scope of the investigation encompasses then every location where traces relevant to the action under consideration are expected to remain: on the geographic sites where the action took place, at the place of a suspect’s residence, in a vehicle used by a suspect, etc. While it is often essentially presented in technical terms in books and manuals, the problematic of the search and collection of traces on a crime scene calls for much wider competencies than solely technical skills (Ribaux et al. 2010a).

Different factors have an influence both on the decision to attend a scene, or not, once a potential litigious action is known (crime scene attendance) and on the manner the scene is processed and searched for physical traces (crime scene processing). First of all, the strategic policies of a law enforcement organization frame the decision-making process to attend a crime scene. Generally, the importance of a case, in reference to its criminal law qualification, and the priority given by organizations for specific security or policing issues rule the strategies and the attribution of resources. For example, cases assessed as important, such as homicides, will often result in a massive deployment of human, time, and material resources to the crime scene investigation, whereas less serious offenses, volume crimes, for instance, will rarely involve systematic crime scene attendance or intensive investigation. Beyond these strategic policies, which mainly rely on legal, managerial, and organizational issues, several knowledge dimensions contribute to the decision to attend a crime scene and to shape the investigative approach. A general knowledge of physical traces’ taxonomy as well as of their potential exploitation in the different information processes of a judicial inquiry is a prerequisite to suitable crime scene investigation. The detection of physical traces on a crime scene represents a difficult yet decisive task that requires a solid knowledge of the multiple forms that traces can have. Crime scene investigation is never a passive process. Traces with blurred morphology, such as shoe-marks or earmarks, or latent traces, such as certain fingerprints or DNA deposits, cannot be detected by someone who does not know what they look like or is not prepared to anticipate their presence. As emphasized by an aphorism well known to every forensic scientist, generally associated to Alphonse Bertillon who had this maxim displayed in his teaching room, “the eye only sees what it’s looking at and it looks only at what is already in the mind.” This quote also warns crime scene examiners to go beyond strict procedures and routine by keeping their mind open when processing each specific case. Thus, more than an awareness about physical traces, the process of searching and detecting traces relies on a structured education and training and based on the purchase of a forensic culture (Margot 2011). The preservation, recording, and collection of traces require then technical skills as well as knowledge of the persistence and recovery possibilities of the different types of traces in the given physical environment that is investigated. This specific knowledge is also often a significant parameter that is considered in the decision-making process of crime scene attendance: for instance, for burglary cases, if the chance of recovering relevant physical traces is weak on the basis of the available information, the decision not to investigate the scene will often be made.

Analysis of the immediate environment where the action occurred provides another kind of knowledge that influences the processing of crime scene. Sometimes epitomized as a determination of the modus operandi of the criminals, this analytical process relies on the attempt to reconstruct the sequence of activities in order to orientate the search for traces. As a starting point, the analysis of the immediate situation requires the integration of information about the environment and circumstances of the action. Taking into account this context, the processing of the crime scene can start progressing in the search for traces following an iterative hypothetico-deductive approach. Every piece of information or recovered trace leads to the generation of hypotheses regarding the events. These hypotheses then orientate the search and collection of new traces that contribute to invalidate, reinforce, or discriminate the hypotheses, maybe also suggesting new alternatives. Finally, the decision to undertake a crime scene investigation and the reasoning applied to detect and collect traces are definitely influenced by the knowledge of the general criminal environment. An analysis of the criminal activities informs about the current structure of the criminality and active criminal phenomena. Some litigious actions may belong to the general activity of a same perpetrator or a group of perpetrators, especially considering volume crime offenses that are highly repetitive. Therefore, knowledge about this activity and a priori detection that a given event may belong to a current criminal phenomenon provide valuable intelligence feeding both the decision to attend the scene and the management of scene search. As such, the practice of forensic science through crime scene investigation becomes a decisive instrument of intelligence-led policing (Ribaux et al. 2010b).

From Clue To Evidence: The Manifold Dimensions Of Forensic Science’ Contribution To The Criminal Inquiry

As an introductory overview, the tension between the omnipotent picture of forensic science constructed with science and technology and the dispute of its efficiency by empirical research was emphasized. A similar tension appears when considering the use of forensic science and its utility in the frame of the judicial inquiry. In the first stages of the judicial process, essentially conducted by police investigative units, the use of physical traces is continuously expanding. The types of traces that are searched, collected, and exploited increase, and the range of situations for the investigation of which traces are used extends. Some knowledge indicates that the major contribution of physical traces relies in refinement, checking, and preparation for the trial (Kind 1994), while other researches attribute them little value in influencing decisions during the later stage of the process (Baskin and Sommers 2010). In some aspects, the current contribution of forensic science can lead to harmful and counterproductive consequences as it is presented as a source of miscarriage of justice (National Research Council 2009). Beyond this apparent antagonism, the valuable benefit of forensic science appears in its potential to bring decisive contribution to the multiple dimensions of the judicial process. The criminal inquiry is not a continuous process but a succession of phases, or times, that are characterized by distinct aims, distinct reasoning, and distinct ways of using information. Being inspired by the decomposition of the criminal investigation in chapters suggested by Kind (1994) and by the taxonomy proposed by Brodeur (2010), it is possible to assess the multidimensional contribution of forensic science.

Physical Traces Serving The Investigations

The first phase of the criminal investigation is speculative and consists of searching. An action occurred which entails the starting of an investigation handled by police forces. Its main purpose is to clarify the events regarding possible further criminal prosecution (is this a crime?) and to identify the persons involved. In this perspective, the early investigation looks like a quest for information that serves as raw material to support initial generation of hypotheses about the events and the perpetrator. What is expected from forensic science at this time is thus dramatically different from services provided by traditional laboratories driven by court-oriented quality processes: rapid indications about the nature of a trace, even very uncertain, may orient decisively investigations.

The attendance of crime scene enables the detection of physical traces that, as vectors of information about past events, are exploited to gain intelligence. If the traces detected are relevant to explain the activity that is considered, they become clues that can assist in the clarification of the events. In this first phase of the investigation, the detection and collection of physical traces tend to be directed by the concern of the inquiry. The main, if not exclusive, issue to be answered at that time is often the question of “who?” with its two main subdivisions: the identification of the victim (e.g., when a dead body is discovered or when the victim is not known) and the search for the perpetrator. In certain cases, besides the question of “who?” the determination of the nature of the action (“what?”) is also a main concern. For instance, the very first stages of the investigation of a dead person focus essentially on the issue of the cause of death (e.g., can the action of a third party be excluded?), the identity of the deceased, and the circumstances of the action.

As instruments serving the police inquiry, the detection and collection of physical traces are largely influenced by its concern. The approach of crime scene processing tends to favor the search for traces that could provide indications on the perpetrator or another participant of the action. This is why the detection of fingerprints and traces containing DNA is often promoted. Indeed, there is a direct association between those physical traces and the individual at the source of the trace. Thus, fingerprints and traces containing DNA are likely to provide information on the searched identity of a person. But the trace does not self-reveal its sources. Let’s take the example of a trace left by the finger of an individual. The detection of this trace by applying the suitable enhancement technique and its identification as being produced by a finger (or a portion of friction skin showing papillary ridges) are not sufficient to provide the identity of the individual at the source of the trace. In order to gain this information, it must be compared with reference marks (e.g., ten print cards produced by a known person), and the results of this comparison must be evaluated. This mechanism operates thanks to the availability of databases holding ever-increasing amounts of reference fingerprints and DNA profiles. Obviously, the efficiency of this process relies firmly on how this reference material has been selected. This explains why major efforts are made to collate reference materials within databases and to increase exchanges between existing databases. In parallel, research activities and publications tend to focus on the potential for individualization of such traces, aiming at quantifying the output of the comparison process between a trace and a reference material. This does not however mean that without reference material, such traces are worthless.

Beyond their potential for identification or individualization traces provide above all elimination criteria. In a criminal inquiry process led by the progressive size reduction of a suspect population, the elimination potency of physical traces is a precious contribution (Barclay 2009; Kind 1994). Besides, it is worth to mention that the very first use of DNA in a criminal case in 1986 resulted in the exclusion of a suspect that the inquiry designated as guilty, the confirmation that the case was linked with a previous crime, and then a DNA-based manhunt founded on a progressive reduction of the population of potential suspects (Wong et al. 1987). Technically, the existence of DNA database opens also the perspective for alternative investigative possibilities, maybe more speculative and risky than the conservative quest for individualization. Partial profiles could thus be further exploited, giving a list of potential suspects than would then be reduced by traditional investigation. Familial searches in DNA databases are another example of investigative strategy that already proved to be decisive in some major inquiries, but which however can raise ethical issues that still need to be clarified.

Obviously, information obtained from physical traces detected and collected can also be misleading. As traces are remnants of the past history, the locations subject to scene investigation encompass traces related to the action of interest as well as nonrelevant traces produced either before or after the action. If rapid discovery of the action and efficient scene preservation may significantly limit the addition of “contamination” traces, there is no possible control or influence on vestiges from the history of the environment preceding the action of interest. Thus, on all physical traces that are detected and collected from the crime scene, some of them will inevitably convey pieces of information unrelated with the inquiry. Considered solely, these pieces of information materialize a risk of orientating on misleading paths or even lead to false exclusion. But considered with all other information gathered in the inquiry and after verification, the hypotheses they suggest can be disregarded. This typically occurs when characteristics of a trace do not match with a reference. In this situation, the general attitude would be to exclude the person of being involved in the case. However, this entirely depends on the circumstances of the case and how another origin of the trace is possible.

In the early times of the inquiry, the search and use of physical traces provide information that is neither perfect nor complete but which can be incorporated into the corpus of other pieces of information gathered from “traditional” inquiry. How the investigation integrates these mute witnesses, is able to generate relevant hypotheses as completely as possible, and devises experimental tests are central issues to properly use the whole information. Forensic scientists cannot be excluded from this process because they know the informational potential of physical traces and how to identify specialized fields of expertise needed. While this key dimension of the role of forensic science, as a corpus of scientific methods employed to gather intelligence from physical traces, is widely applied by forensic staff and crime scene units in police forces, it is often misjudged by scientific laboratories and the research community that are framed by a paradigm oriented to court concerns. Conversely, they create distance with the investigation in order to keep independence that is supposed to promote their impartiality in the perspective of the trial process.

Reconstruction Of The Events: The Structuring Of Evidence

As previously emphasized, the criminal investigation process encompasses multiple dimensions. A second phase that usually follows the searching consists in structuring the evidence against a suspect in order to form the decision to prosecute or not (Kind 1994; Brodeur 2010). At that time of the investigation, which begins with a fuzzy delimitation being the belief that an identified individual is the perpetrator of the action, this individual becomes the main focus of the inquiry and the reasoning scheme is significantly altered. All pieces of information accumulated during the first phase of the investigation are scrutinized under the assumption that the identified individual is the perpetrator, revealing elements that corroborate this assumption as well as those that invalidate it. There is a conspicuous risk, associated to this reasoning scheme, to fall in a cyclic argumentation consolidating the assumption of implication of the identified individual (Kind 1994).

This second phase of the investigation corresponds also to a shift of the main concerns of the investigation. As the inquiry tends to be focused on the identification of the perpetrator (and/or his accomplices) in the first phase, all the other issues of the systematic questioning (where, when, why, how, and what, if not already carefully examined) are considered in a process of reconstruction of the action. All pieces of information of the inquiry are sorted and integrated together reconstructing as precisely as possible the sequence of events and their degree of certainty.

This approach is often favorable to unfold new locations where physical traces can be looked for, extending the concept of “crime scene.” Materializing the idea of exchange of materials and signs emphasized by Locard, forensic investigation is undertaken in the direct environment of the individual believed to be the perpetrator taking into account the context of the case: at his home, in his vehicles, on his clothes, his shoes, his tools, under his fingernails, etc. In practice, this search is generally not as speculative and open as the one undertaken during the first time of the inquiry. More often than not, it is directed towards the detection of physical traces related to the action or removed by the perpetrator. Such focussed investigation can be very successful if the individual suspected turns to really be the offender. However, it tends to neglect traces that could invalidate the putative link of the individual with the action or to underestimate the value of the absence of traces. Yet the fine reconstruction of the event or the extension of the concept of “crime scene” to new locations can reveal new hypotheses, new paths to investigate. The investigating process is not – or at least should not be – as directed as it seems but remains an iterative hypothetico-deductive process, open to hypotheses’ generation and assessment.

The fine reconstruction of the action implies to consider all the available information within the context and situation of the case. It requires also to distinguish different dimensions of information that physical traces can convey (Cook et al. 1998). While the analytical process of the traces often aims at identifying and determining (if possible) their source, the reconstruction of the events entails the combination of the different traces as well as the study of their position. The information relating to the source of the traces is then considered within the context of the specific case, enabling to gain hypotheses or clues on the activity, i.e., the sequence of events that lead to the production of the set of traces.

The Provision Of Evidence To Court

Once the whole inquiry conducts the investigators (or the judicial authority supervising them) to consider they have sufficient information to demonstrate that the perpetrator is identified and the sequence of the events can be reconstructed, they have to prepare a corpus of proofs from the collection of information. Physical traces can also significantly contribute to this third phase of the inquiry, the preparation of evidence to the court. Since they are remnants of the past whose availability in the present is not contingent upon the memory nor the interpretation of an individual, unlike testimonies for instance, physical traces hold a good potential to have the results of their analysis presented as evidence to a court. This requires interpreting the value of the results measured from the traces, assessing their level of uncertainty, and evaluating what this information brings to support the decision-making process of the judicial dispute. In this third time of the inquiry, only a small amount of traces are retained and presented as evidence, assuming they are informative and considering a specified and finite set of propositions. Under its simplest expression, the evaluation of the evidence takes the form of a balance between the probabilities to observe the evidence given two alternative propositions (usually referred as the proposition of the prosecution and the proposition of the defense). This “likelihood ratio” for the evaluation of forensic evidence (issued from the exploitation of traces) is expressed through a Bayesian framework that models how a new information (the physical trace) logically changes a priori beliefs on propositions (see entry Probabilistic inference in forensic science). This ratio indicates thus the strength of the evidence.

The use of traces as pieces of intelligence was presented as a collaborative process where some forensic scientists fully participate to the development of hypotheses. This contrasts with the evaluation scheme of evidence oriented to court, which restricts the forensic scientist to provide an opinion only by using absolutely necessary circumstantial information. While forensic scientists assess the strength of the evidence strictly in the eyes of the proposed assumptions, it is left to the judge’s duty to integrate this assessment within the context of the case. Due to this fundamental difference, the practice of forensic science has been sometimes depicted as a confrontation of models: the first one promoting the use of traces to gather intelligence for the inquiry and the second centered on the preparation of evidence for the court. In fact, both of these paradigms adopt a narrow, and thus incomplete, view on the dimensions of information that can be generated by the exploitation of traces.

The Unifying Paradigm

But considering physical traces in a semiotic perspective reveals their intrinsic potential and allows to recognize their contribution to the production of information in a unifying paradigm embracing the two models that tend to confront each other. Instead of focussing on the finality of the use of information that can be extracted from traces (intelligence vs. evidence), it is much more relevant to place physical traces in the center of the model, recognizing them as vector of information about an action that belongs to the past. This also brings us to acknowledge the large scope of information traces can convey and to accept that they can be used for different purposes, feeding different reasoning processes: sometimes sustaining speculative and profuse argumentation and sometimes being the object of rigorous assessment based on strict interpretation and evaluation of uncertainties.

From the crime scene to the court, the role of the forensic scientist becomes thus progressively restricted. At the scene, he/she develops hypotheses and elaborates an experimental approach; he/she makes the essential of the decisions to investigate some places, engage technologies, and detect, record, and collect traces. During the inquiry, he/she shares the approach with experts and investigators in a more collective decision-making process. At the court, the decision is entirely the prerogative of the judge and the jury; the forensic scientist limits his role to show how the specific piece of evidence may change a priori beliefs on the propositions coming from prosecutor and the defense.

A Path Forward: Forensic Intelligence

This conception of traces, rather than representing a revolution, refers to the origin of forensic science, when traces were neither entrapped in predefined reasoning schemes nor confined to be used restrictively within the context of a specific case. Moreover, as pioneers of the discipline already identified it, physical traces can also be used beyond the frame of a given case. This additional dimension, referred as forensic intelligence, relies on physical traces to forge or corroborate connections between discrete actions perpetrated by the same offender, to draw an overall view of criminal phenomena, or to follow the evolution of certain types of crime (Ribaux and Margot 2007). The constitution of databases collecting massive amount of traces and information related to them increases the potential to find links between traces resulting from the same source. A systematic use of physical traces as indicators to establish potential links between actions, events, or crimes materializes an extension of the contribution of forensic science beyond the sphere of judicial inquiry, for security issues. While still underexploited, the potential of physical traces to act as semiotic marker of connections between crimes will indisputably gain more and more attention (Rossy et al. 2012). As it does not entail the transfer or divulgation of personal information, the exchange of traces escapes ethical or legal restrictions. Therefore, it will certainly become a major tool for the prevention and the repression of illegal activities occurring beyond administrative, structural, or political borders. Forensic intelligence may extend its scope of application to transregional or transnational volume crimes, to the comprehension of several forms of organized crime (such as to contribute to the fight against drug of abuse trafficking for instance), and to the identification of repeated offenses perpetrated in different jurisdictions.

Far away from the picture depicted in TV shows or in the media, the current needs expressed by law enforcement authorities, judicial authorities and other beneficiaries of the information conveyed by physical traces, lead to reconsider the role and the scope of contributions of forensic science. Forensic scientists must emancipate from the models and reasoning schemes they’ve applied so far to bring into focus the multiple and nonexclusive dimensions of information that can benefit from the detection, collection, and exploitation of physical traces.

Considering traces in criminal inquiry and intelligence necessitates a shift from the traditional court-oriented laboratory to a better integration in policing. Rather than focusing on the validity of specific techniques used mostly in routine processes, forensic science should much more engage in the resolution of criminal problems. The variety of the contribution and the logical processes, more offensive and risky by nature, have dramatic consequences in terms of the flexibility of standards, harmonized processes, attitudes, and globally on the way to envisage quality management for forensic operations. It necessitates combining quality of services for a court, with integrating to intelligence-led and investigative processes.


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