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State set to induct 206 ‘Scene of Crime Officers’

Recruits undergoing training at National Forensic Sciences University and Central Forensic Science Laboratory

Bengaluru: Two years after the announcement of appointing ‘Scene of Crime Officers’ who will be responsible for gathering crucial evidence from crime spots, the State Government is all set to induct 206 officers, who are currently being trained at the National Forensic Sciences University in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad.

Making an announcement regarding the induction of Crime Scene Officers across the State, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra told the Assembly yesterday that the Scene of Crime Officers (SoCOs) will be the first-of-its-kind initiative where a dedicated section of civilian experts will take over the responsibilities of securing a crime scene.

They will have the responsibility of collecting forensic evidence and storing them and they are a team of experts guiding the Police in handling evidence at the scene of the crime. They will identify, collect, handle and most importantly preserve evidence from the spot. They will be attached to the jurisdictional Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and they are scientific officers specially trained to handle sensitive evidence.

Government sources said that currently, 206 SoCOs who are undergoing training will join the Karnataka State Police Force in the first half of 2023. With their inclusion, chances of errors in collecting and handling evidence from the crime scene will become less and the Police investigators will be able to focus on their probe.

Responding to a question raised by MLA R. Narendra, the Home Minister said they are taking several measures to ensure better investigation and improvement in conviction rate.

“Earlier, cases were coming up for trials after three years due to various reasons, including delays in getting the forensic science laboratory reports. To address that concern, the government increased the number of forensic science labs,” he said.

“When rape or murder cases are reported, a Sub-Inspector goes to the spot and collects evidence. But now we are making an attempt to collect evidence through experts, which is why we will be inducting 206 SoCOs. In the coming days, the State Government will depute one SOCO in each taluk,” he said.

The SoCOs will specialise in forensic science as well as in the identification, collection and preservation of evidence at the scene of the crime. They have to identify, record and collect evidence at the crime scene. They will assist investigation officers by providing crucial evidence material. The Department also strengthened teams investigating cybercrimes. “Our officers file FIR and submit chargesheet, but if there is no conviction, Police are disappointed. This also encourages criminals,” Araga Jnanendra added.

The Home Department data shows the number of crimes, especially those registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC), went up by 14,000 every year in the last three years, while the increase was around 4,000 in cases registered under Special Local Laws (SLL) and Cyber Crimes, said the Home Minister.

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