This led me to the Australian Institute of Criminology who had conducted various research projects and
had publicised work available for me to study. I started to research burglary levels across the globe and
learned that the UK and Ireland have one of the highest rates of burglary in the world. New Zealand and
Australia are also in the upper sections depending on which model is applied.
It was then that a colleague suggested I apply for a Winston Churchill Fellowship to support my study and
travel abroad to see what innovative burglary investigation and CSI models were being used in everyday
I was conscious to take into account population levels so that my research could be put into context.
Bristol has an approximate population of 380,000, which is very similar to Christchurch in New Zealand,
which sits at approximately 350,000. Perth has a population of approximately 1,800,000 and this is
comparable to the Avon and Somerset area population combined. In addition, the number of burglaries in
Christchurch is at a very similar level to that of Bristol at approximately 2,500 per year. Perth on the other
hand sees incredibly large numbers close to 30,000 burglaries per year.
I wanted to see how much emphasis both countries place on burglary as an offence and the service they
provide. In addition New Zealand Police operate as a national body and I hoped that by visiting them I
may gain an insight into streamlined procedures and a single operating model that I may be able to bring
back working practices that support the new South West Forensics structure and regionalisation process.
New Zealand Police operate as a single policing body across the whole country, divided into twelve district
command units. As New Zealand Police are a national force their entire model is based on one plan
‘Prevention first’, which has been in place since 2011. All departments work to the same goals and
strategic plan across the entire nation. All of New Zealand Police work stems from this, and they base their
operating model on their five drivers for crime, alcohol, families, youth, road policing and organised crime
I visited Police Headquarters and the national DNA provider in Wellington and attended several dwelling
burglary scenes during my week in Christchurch. I found that SOCO’s focus on DNA and fingerprints as
their main evidence types but have no system for recording and using footwear evidence as intelligence.
SOCO’s spend less time at volume crime scenes and this gives staff the ability to attend a larger number of
scenes. This is vastly different from CSI’s within Avon and Somerset who collect all available evidence at a
crime scene and spend as much time as needed to complete their investigation.
Australia is made of eight states and territories and each state has its own law and enforcement
regulations. Each state has its own computer recording and reporting systems and up until recently have
not all fed into the National Criminal DNA identification system. This gave a complete contrast to my
experiences in New Zealand but does reflect some of the challenges in British Policing (43 separate police
forces) even though we do operate in England and Wales under the same legal system. I visited New South
Wales Police, Western Australia Police and both the Institute of Criminology in Canberra and The
Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement. Again I found that SOCO’s do not collect all available evidence at
crime scenes but was interested to find out that photographing fingerprints was the main method of
recovery and offered a fast and efficient service.
On the whole I found that burglary is not set as a high priority in any of the areas I visited, nor is police at-tendance
a regular occurrence. A police officer would only normally attend if an intruder is found on the
premises and the responsibility passes to the attending CSI, if in fact they are attending. As a result of this
lower level response the priority burglaries are not seen as a priority for CSI attendance and there is little
pressure or expectation on outcomes.