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Police Investigation : Relevance In A Globalized World

Police Investigation : Relevance In A Globalized World



The police investigation is a proper activity of criminal police. It consists of a series of techniques. Rocha (2003, p.22-23) states that:

"Investigate" is a word that comes from the Latin, Investigatio of investigare, and means asking carefully; observe the details; look closely; following the traces; discover.

Investigation, from investigatione is the act or effect to investigate; the procedure that seeks to discover something. It can be done by government or private, scientific or security, police, military or parliamentary, investigative journalism or specialized companies.

The police investigation is a study of people and things useful for the reconstruction of the circumstances of a fact legal or illegal and the idea they have about this.

The brazilian civil police (known too investigative, judicial or repressive police) has, historically, the vocation and the office of criminal investigation. Other institutions may investigate: prosecutors, the courts and the legislature. The prosecutor, as holder of the prosecution, has the powers of criminal investigators. The courts of Justice can investigate when crimes are committed by its members and the legislative branch through the CPI (Parliamentary Committees of Inquiry) also engage in some cases of investigations. However, it is undeniable that these institutions run into limits to its investigative procedures, these limits related to the practice of research itself. In addition to interviews and documentary research and perhaps the ease with which some institutions have to apply for telephone interception, the research does not evolve much because it is not practiced by police investigators. These professionals are enabled to develop their investigative activities including field activity, such as vigilance, recognition and identification of sites where the events took place, the dynamics of circumstances, motivations and offenders. Just to contextualize these facts, Silva (2006) in an article on the conduct of specific investigations by members of the Supreme Court has considered:

The criminal investigation pre-procedure judicial requires a dynamic and informality for which our courts are not prepared. Indeed, beyond the measures taken in offices, criminal investigation requires agents prepared to leave the streets, interviewing people, gathering information in various databases, and conducting surveillance footage, these acts that often are not recorded in the file and whose performance can not simply be determined by law enforcement agencies through quotas or orders of the judge, because they are made, sometimes immediately after confirmation of their need.

Despite the impatience of some members from other institutions, who claim that the civil police is inefficient as the clarification of crimes, it seems that the lack of greater effectiveness in solving crime is more associated with current situations that a challenge to the capacity and investigation practice. Prominent cases, which required responses from specialized investigations sectors of the civil police in So Paulo, such as location and retrieval of works "The Farmer's Cafe" by Candido Portinari and "The Portrait of Suzanne Bloch" by Pablo Picasso, subtracted from the Art Museum of Sao Paulo (MASP) on 20/12/2007. The recovery of the paintings and the arrest of criminals and complete explanation of all the facts are not activities practiced in office. Field practices are associated with logical reasoning and police expertise, that caused the emotional comment of architect Julio Neves, president of the MASP: "This is the biggest celebration we had these 60 years [the museum] and is one of the brilliant victory and competent police work. " (Folha on Line, 09/01/2008). The police unit that was praised in his comments is DEIC (State Department of Investigations on Organized Crime), a department of the Civil Police of Sao Paulo.

By discussing the reasons why things do not always occur with such effectiveness. Silva Jnior (2007) contextualizes :

Constitutionally the investigation of criminal offenses, except military crimes [49] and the jurisdiction of the Federal Police[50], the allocation belongs to the Civil police [51]. Do not confuse the investigation of criminal offenses with the function of the judicial police, even if one depends on another, the first activity is to research and police intelligence, while the other is the formalization of evidence of authorship and materiality criminal offense in that judicial pre-procedural (police investigation). For the reasons training jurisdictional matters that deal just before there is clearly a preponderance of excellence in the work produced by the civil police as police, compared with their results in what should be its primary function: the criminal investigation.

It should be recognized that the problem is not only a result of cultural factors (culture jurisdictional), but mainly the lack of logistics, personnel functions, including an appropriate career plan and salary and technology, historically left to the mercy of political public pathetic.

However, the most appropriate investment aspects in training and professional development of police investigators, as well as specific investments in this area seem to be the most logical and output appropriate to simply criticize an activity. In fact, the islands of excellence for police investigations in So Paulo, such as DHPP (Department of Homicides and Protection of Person) and DAS (Anti-Kidnapping Division) have revealed that the State of So Paulo has an brilliant activity of the investigative police , which has no similar production of any other institution (in Brazil). This activity, which must be valued more and more, can be the most efficient response to one type of crime that is not resolved by uniformed police, not with mere telephone interception or a simple office research: a crime that requires a more expertise, interdisciplinary, in which the brightness of the intelligence, the exercise of logic, the persistence of the fieldwork interact to - first, to understand it - and then solve it. The activity for those who were trained in this mister. It's activity to the police investigator.


The world has changed in recent decades and crime too. In addition to the daily crime, which is part of everyday life of citizens, such as theft and robbery, new forms of cruel crime were developed. These new forms do not have the same characteristics of the crimes then known, and involve an organized activity by groups that act - often - in several countries and circulate money from illicit activities in the international financial system. There is activity that can't be tackled, for example, by the Military Police (brazilian preventive police). The uniformed police and the public policies discussed by the society for the prevention of crime, can not achieve these spheres. Trafficking in narcotics is one example of this: the combat is concentrate in the User and in the small dealer. The uniformed police patrols and systemic approach of suspects can inhibit these effects smaller. But the identification and arrest of major international dealer drug can only be made by police officers specializing in criminal investigation, because they involve knowledge of the field, beyond a certain experience in the media frequented by such criminals. There is no information of major traffickers in seminars and convents: and, yes, in other areas of society that only the flexibility of the police investigator, who must learn to deal with the most different social strata can provide. A shining example of activity of police was the arrest of Colombian drug lord Juan Carlos Ramrez-Abada, in Sao Paulo, by the Federal Police. This work involved three years of activities of police and judicial cooperation with the DEA (drug agency anti-American) and polices departments from Spain and Uruguay (UOL ltimas Notcias, 2007).

Nor would be possible to arrest a drug dealer at that level only with telephone intercepts: indeed, such procedure as widely used and disclosed will not end up doing more effect. Today all knows that there are thousands of wiretaps in Brazil and that some institutions are investigating based - many times - so only this technique. It's fairly logical to assume that criminals also read newspapers and watch the news ... Once the effectiveness of this instrument of investigation tends to fall.

Therefore, the international drug traffic need to police investigators. Cops using the principles of research and intelligence to seek the identification and arrest of criminals that are not accessible by other means. The phone tapping can be very useful in this context. But, if used as complementary research field, not a single measure. Stay in air-conditioned classrooms listening to tapes - or what is worse, having someone listen and transcribe them - and then try to identify dubious conversations as if they were great criminal evidence, interpreting specific conversations, there seems to be the best investigative practice. Professionals specializing in criminal investigation can - indeed - best lead this venture, seeking solid elements that promote the effective arrest and conviction of those involved.

Another problem of crime is the global arms trade. Preventive operations may - with luck - get seizing a number of weapons and arrest some criminals involved in the transport of the same. But truth repressive operations are made at the expense of much research. Woodiwiss (2007, p.258-259) gives an idea of the extent of the problem:

Companies weapons are no longer controlled and supervised by governments. The simple concepts of trade and arms companies have disappeared in a maze of licensed production, joint ventures, clusters, strategic partnerships and Armaments Cooperative Programs in our new globalized world. The "systems" of weapons can be designed in one country, manufactured in several other separately and sold to the countries cooperating on the other. In our world without borders, armaments companies are only nominally subject to the legal, fiscal and moral of the countries that host (...).

Now, it's been the times that the criminals wore dirty clothes, did not shave and had several mental disorders easily detectable ... Or lived in slums and houses on stilts, surrounded by others equally strange ... Criminals focused here, wear suits and ties, attend business meetings and social in the best addresses of the cities in which they live, and probably moving from luxury cars in which will never be found rifles, pistols and other weapons. The fight against this segment of crimes is only possible through the union of various investigative means and intelligence, on many levels. It is necessary to train researchers can find information within these organizations, researchers can identify the legal and illegal operations and their differences. Researchers able to exchange information with other police and intelligence agencies in state, federal and international levels.

This applies also to other forms of crime such as trafficking in human beings, trafficking in human organs, pedophilia - among others. They are crimes that require specialized knowledge, cops who know the area in which contextualizes the problem, but that has intelligence interdisciplinary knowledge, research, defense, knowledge of use of weapons, as well as basic knowledge of Constitutional Law, Criminal and how institutions function linked to this dynamic, such as prosecutors and Justice. No other professional is as qualified to deal with these aspects as the police investigator.


The brazilian police investigator has been devalued in recent decades by various problems. Allegations of corruption, violence and some distortion of their basic functions, eventually transmit a misconception of the function for society.

That researcher whose main instrument was the mental faculties, the exercise of induction and deduction, seems to have been forgotten. Perhaps the dynamics of the new era that no longer allows work methodical, systematic, allowing each step solving the crime. Several literary authors have dedicated themselves to portray these characteristics, specific to an investigator of crimes. It seems that the first to dedicate to uncover methodically the crimes was Edgar Allan Poe and his brilliant Dupin. Thoms (2002) notes that:

Edgar Allan Poe is commonly regarded as the father of detective fiction. In the three stories that feature his amateur investigator C. Auguste Dupin - The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841), The Mystery of Marie Rogt (1842-43), and The Purloined Letter (1844) - Poe invented the detective story...(...). Chronicling a search for explanation and solution, such fiction typically unfolds as a kind of puzzle or game, a place of play and pleasure for both detective and reader. The popularity of the stories of Poe and his successors partly derives from this intense engagement with the text where, in the scrutinizing of evidence and the interpreting of clues, the reader becomes a detective and the detective a reader.

Dupin (Poe, s / d) is explaining his view of investigation of the case and criticizes the way others can not see your logic.

It appears to me that this mystery is considered insoluble, for the very reason which should cause it to be regarded as easy of solution--I mean for the outre character of its features. The police are confounded by the seeming absence of motive--not for the murder itself--but for the atrocity of the murder. They are puzzled, too, by the seeming impossibility of reconciling the voices heard in contention, with the facts that no one was discovered upstairs but the assassinated Mademoiselle L'Espanaye, and that there were no means of egress without the notice of the party ascending. The wild disorder of the room; the corpse thrust, with the head downward, up the chimney; the frightful mutilation of the body of the old lady; these considerations, with those just mentioned, and others which I need not mention, have sufficed to paralyze the powers, by putting completely at fault the boasted acumen, of the government agents. They have fallen into the gross but common error of confounding the unusual with the abstruse.

is This captivating play detective-reader was followed by other authors, with special emphasis on Sir Conan Doyle and his famous Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, with its spectacular stories, often involving an eccentric Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot or a nice old lady observer, Miss Marple. In the case of Doyle that the emphasis was the physical evidence, the details left at the crime scene. This procedure is expected nowadays, from the work of the Criminal Expertise. The famous "When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" that guided the investigative work of Holmes, can still be used as an important principle of criminal investigation. Since Christie, the queen of mystery, her plots focused on the psychological self, a search of the investigator to know the soul of the investigation. Understanding his motives and his heart was able to identify their actions. University studies seek to identify the presence or otherwise of the extensive psychoanalytic work of this author (Evans, nd).

Anyway, considering that over the course provides science, the most diverse police investigations work with the idea that police investigators need training course, interpersonal skills and willingness to accommodate interdisciplinary theoretical and practical knowledge in various areas, and some flexibility in the "theater" interpretations.

However, the identity of the police officer was contaminated with a series of events that have become recurrent in recent decades. The period of dictatorship in Brazil contributed to the emergence of police investigators who have become symbols called the Death Squad. Although some members are treated as heroes by society and press at the time, eventually convicted of killing, dying in jail or leaving after the completion of long sentences. In the image of violent and arbitrary, the various instances of corruption have also contributed to an image tarnished of the cops that should be admired for the ability to investigate. Besides these factors, the various economic crises that the country has been subject in recent decades, eventually limiting investments in public security. The investigative police from several states often are concerned with activities of office, social assistance, removal and custody of prisoners that police investigators ended up making a series of activities, except those for which he was appointed to the position .


Brazilian society should expect an increasing amount of diverse and complex crimes that are not resolved merely with public policies of prevention. Need repressive qualified responses such that only one institution seems to be empowered to issue by practice over the years and its features: the investigative police either in the states and the federal levels. For some steps that should be thought:

a) Organizacional Principles : the police investigator can not be only the driver or attendant on duty ... He must devote himself to the police investigation. He can't be influenced and pressures that are not absolutely linked to its function. Need to worship the independence, reflection, logical ability, patterns of criminal investigators;

b) Development of its own policy of criminal investigation. It is necessary for security managers think of the increasing complexity of organized crime and encourage ways for the researcher also develops. Undergraduate and postgraduate studies in areas of complex investigations are extremely important. Additional courses in various areas and a structured career plan, as well as providing an adequate development in the criminal investigators were just ways to redeem the image and esteem of a category quite degraded in recent decades;

c) Thinking of criminal investigation. Society as a whole has ceased to think of the criminal investigation as a structured activity of the judicial police. The competition that members of certain organs stimulate, in the view that since the police does not clarify crimes, other institutions should also investigate, there no seems to be a sound policy. If there are problems in the civil police, it is necessary to solve these problems. Qualify others to investigate crimes is a much more difficult that correct problems in an institution whose culture is known to police linked to research and intelligence.


EVANS, Dewi Llyr. Agatha Christies Parapractic Murders.Disponvel em:, Acesso em: 03/11/

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Police Investigation : Relevance In A Globalized World