The Role of Personal and Material Evidence in Fighting Transnational and Organized Crime in an Area Without Borders
Chief Superintendent Bernhard Egger, Head, Central Investigation Services Division, State Office of Criminal Investigation Bureau, Munich, Federal Republic of Germany
On 25 March 2015 CPG and Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) jointly arranged a professional training workshop on “The Role of Personal and Material Evidence in Fighting Transnational and Organized Crime in an Area Without Borders”for special case officers of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and law enforcement officers of other related security agencies in Thailand.
The event was held at the Faculty of Law of Thammasat University. It continued the longstanding cooperation between CPG and HSF pertaining to the professionalization of police agencies in the region for a long term partner of HSF and CPG. The event contributed not only to CPG’s efforts in the field of national security, but also to its human rights approach, a field in which the partnerorganizations have been enjoying a fruitful cooperation for many years. Especially against the backdrop of transnational crime the professionalization of police agencies contributes to the protection of weaker and vulnerable groups in society, for example in the fields of organized drug crime or human trafficking. Workshop instructor was Chief Superintendent Bernhard Egger, Director of the Central Investigation Services Division at the Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation Bureau in Munich.
He was introduced to the audience by Hanns Bühler, Head of the Division South-and Southeast Asia of the HSF who also informed about HSF’s global engagement in the field of international development cooperation. (See also the contribution on the HSF below.)Core of Chief Superintendent Egger’ scontribution to the training workshop was the presentation of practicalinsights in investigative measurers, including in particular the arsenal of biometric methods but also advanced applications of other investigative methods like fingerprint and DNA-analysis. While there are still case scenarios in which fingerprints proof to be an immensely valuable sources of evidence for which Mr. Egger gave some interesting examples he introduced in a number of newer approaches and methods of sometimes surprising impact.
Remarkable concerning the work with fingerprints, however, is the fact that officers of the criminal investigation office are trained for not less than three years in fingerprint analysis before they are considered as being competent to give respective expert testimony before a court of justice. In view of the more complicated DNA analysis as a source of evidence. Mr. Egger pointed out the fact that leaving fingerprints cannot be avoided while leaving DNA is basically unavoidable. On the other side,precondition of investigating with DNA samples is a sufficient data-base where it comes to the importance of police cooperation within and beyond countries, an issue highlighted by Mr. Egger in relation to actual cooperation among European countries in particular.Access to such data-bases and continuously improving techniques are also one of the sources for regular cold-case assessments which are done by a special team at the Bavarian state’s criminal office.
Related to the actual potentials of biometric investigative measurers which can be actually operated much faster than in the past, a challenge to master in the near future will be to enable searches for faces “wanted” in real time CCTV transmissions. The most stunning innovation within the field of these investigative measurers which also includes systematic routine based radio cell analysis in cases of serious crime was reported to the audience in form of what might be called a “digital fingerprint”. Besides these and other examples which Director Egger illustrated in depth by cases, it became clear during the workshop how important and successful police cooperation advanced in recent years between various European countries. It was further instructive to learn how local police forces including local forensic experts cooperate with the state’s criminal investigation office to save evidence for further analysis. The workshop concluded with a vivid discussion among the participants and will be continued.