Forensic Archaeology and Undetected Homicide Cases

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Dear Cleveland Police,

I am a MSc student studying Forensic Science and Criminal Justice with the University of Leicester. I am currently completing my dissertation which seeks to look at the impact Forensic Archaeology has on unsolved homicide cases within the UK. I would be grateful if the following questions could be answered as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Definition of terms for clarity:

Homicide – The unlawful killing of a person, to include murder and all categories of manslaughter.
Detected homicide case – a solved homicide case whereby a person(s) has been charged or has died prior to charges being brought.
Undetected homicide case – a currently unsolved homicide case.
Undetected homicide case review – the review of all evidence in relation to an undetected homicide case.

Freedom of Information Questions:

Q1. How many reported undetected homicide cases are there within your jurisdiction currently?
Q2. Do you currently have a team solely responsible for the review of undetected homicides?
Q3. What is the current standard undetected homicide case review frequency within your jurisdiction?
Q4. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were reviewed within your jurisdiction?
Q5. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were detected within your jurisdiction?
Q6. Does your jurisdiction currently have a Forensic Archaeologist to be called upon as required?
Q7. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide case reviews utilised Forensic Archaeology?
Q8. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were detected as a result of Forensic Archaeology?

I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to answer these questions. Should you require me to refine or clarify any part of my request, please do not hesitate to contact me under your section 16 duty.
Kindest regards

Charlotte Jones
BHSPT, Nat.Cert.Sci, BSc(hons)

Freedom of Information, Cleveland Police

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Freedom of Information, Cleveland Police

Enquiry ref: 11280-19

I acknowledge receipt of your enquiry received by this office on 10th September.

As set out by the Freedom of Information Act it will be our aim to respond to your request by 8th October. In some cases, however, we may be unable to achieve this deadline and would hope to contact you should this be the case.

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Mrs M Johnson
Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Department of Standard & Ethics | 1 Cliffland Way | Hemlington | TS8 9GL

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Freedom of Information, Cleveland Police

Dear Ms Jones,

Enquiry Ref: 11280/2019

I write in connection with your request for information dated 9th September 2019 and received by this office on 10th September 2019. Below are the questions raised in your request, and our response.

I am currently completing my dissertation which seeks to look at the impact Forensic Archaeology has on unsolved homicide cases within the UK. I would be grateful if the following questions could be answered as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Definition of terms for clarity:
Homicide – The unlawful killing of a person, to include murder and all categories of manslaughter.
Detected homicide case – a solved homicide case whereby a person(s) has been charged or has died prior to charges being brought.
Undetected homicide case – a currently unsolved homicide case.
Undetected homicide case review – the review of all evidence in relation to an undetected homicide case.

Q1. How many reported undetected homicide cases are there within your jurisdiction currently?
a) Recorded within the records for Cleveland Police (formed in early 1970s) are 7 undetected murders, which include 2 cases where persons were charged and all parties found not guilty at trial or on appeal. There are 2 Missing from Home cases that are considered to be murders, but where there has been no body found. There are 3 further cases from before the 1970s which fit the description.

Q2. Do you currently have a team solely responsible for the review of undetected homicides?
a) Yes. Cleveland works with North Yorkshire Police as part of the Evolve partnership in relation to major crimes.

Q3. What is the current standard undetected homicide case review frequency within your jurisdiction?
a) No information held.

Q4. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were reviewed within your jurisdiction?
a) We are unable to provide a definitive answer to this question as there are no formal records of cold case reviews although there are some cases that have been identified as being subject to further investigation or review, but this work was/has not been completed in all cases.

Q5. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were detected within your jurisdiction?
a) Please see answer to question 4 above.

Q6. Does your jurisdiction currently have a Forensic Archaeologist to be called upon as required?
a) No.

Q7. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide case reviews utilised Forensic Archaeology?
a) There no specific record is kept of the categories of specialist assistance in regard to the management of major crime scene. This would require the location and examination of every major crime file and could have cost implications as it would take in excess of the appropriate time stipulated by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Lord Falconer on the 18th Of October 2004, that is, eighteen hours. This falls under the exemption of 'Compliance exceeding the appropriate limit' covered by Section 12 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Q8. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were detected as a result of Forensic Archaeology?
a) Please see answer to question 7 above however it is thought that none of the cases were specifically resolved due to Forensic Archaeology alone.

Please note any statistical data supplied in relation to Freedom of Information requests is a snapshot of data held at the time the request was received by the Freedom of Information office and is subject to constant change/updates.

The Cleveland Police response to your request is unique and it should be noted that Police Forces do not use generic systems or identical procedures to capture and record data therefore responses from Cleveland Police should not be used as a comparison with any other force response you receive.

If you are not satisfied with this response or any actions taken in dealing with your request you have the right to request an independent internal review of your case under our review procedure. The APP College of Policing guidance states that a request for internal review should be made within 20 working days of the date on this response or 40 working days if extenuating circumstances to account for the delay can be evidenced.

If we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact this office.

Yours sincerely,

Ms E McGuigan
Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Directorate of Standards and Ethics
Cleveland Community Safety Hub | 1 Cliffland Way | Hemlington | TS8 9GL
E-mail: [Cleveland Police request email]

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

       
Public Service | Transparency | Impartiality | Integrity

Please do not use social media or email to report crime as we do not monitor these accounts 24/7. Dial 999 in an emergency or visit the contact us section of our website for all reporting options.

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