Keogh: the importance of Investigative strategies.

The training of investigators misses out one of the most important topics, says Steven Keogh, former Detective Inspector, Homicide Division at Scotland Yard .


As a senior detective, the formulation of investigative strategies was central to my role.

But in all the training courses I attended, I was never taught how to do them.

What I started out doing was looking at examples from other officers. What I found were documents that were essentially 'cut and pastes' from various enquiries, none of which I felt were fit for purpose.

So, I developed my own way of completing them, using three very simple steps.

As with any problem in life, the way to approach is to consider these three steps:

1. Where are we now?
2. Where do we want to be?
3. How will we get there?

So, be it any kind of strategy from Family Liaison, CCTV, Forensics, or Communications, to Threats to Life, I would approach it in these three steps, each time starting with a blank piece of paper.

This has several benefits.

Steven Keogh can be contacted by LinkedIn here

'Where we are now', gives you a clear understanding of the current situation and the problems you face.

'Where we want to be', ensures you have a clear goal, without which you are setting yourself up for failure from the outset.

'How will we get there', forces you to think through your options and identify those most likely to achieve your goal.

Crucially, this method also eliminates the temptation to cut and paste, making each strategy unique and tailored to that specific problem.

This method isn't restricted to police work. In any business or walk of life, if you are formulating a strategy or approaching a problem, this will work for you.

But this isn't rocket science. It's a method you use all the time, probably twice today.

Consider every problem or formulation of a strategy as a journey. A journey from where we are now, to where we want to be. Just like the one you take to and from work. For those trips you take, you either consciously or subconsciously formulate a plan. You will first consider your exact starting point. You will then identify precisely where you want to end up. Finally, you will consider your options for getting there.

The next problem you are faced with or strategy you need to formulate, think of it that way. You are currently at point A but want to get to point B. So, you need to work out the best options for getting there.

If you use this method, your chances of arriving at your desired destination will be much improved.

Steven Keogh spent 30 years in London's Metropolitan Police with the last 12 as a murder investigator.

Since leaving he has written two books on murder investigation with the intention of demystifying the subject and to a glimpse of what it is really like to be a homicide detective. Keogh is available for consulting, training and speaking engagements.


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