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Snapshot clues to crack a crime

It was a gruesome crime and the vital evidence had to be captured in five frames, within 10 minutes.

As the effigy of the murder victim — a college-goer raped and shot dead by three friends — lay in the middle, 38 police officers went about furiously clicking pictures of the clues strewn around — a packet of condoms, liquor bottles, a wallet, a pistol and a pack of playing cards. But they could take only five pictures each and their ability to capture the maximum number of clues would make all the difference in cracking the “crime.”

On the second day of the Jharkhand State Police Duty Meet, the photography skills of officers were put to test, as the annual event is all about promoting scientific investigation.

For the test, the participants were handed digital cameras by the crime investigation department, the organiser of the event.

For the examinees, the call to decide what was important and what was not, was a tough one. “I found each and every item present at the spot important. But I had to select the five most important ones. It was not easy,” said sub-inspector Deepak Kumar, who had come from Jamshedpur.

Sub-inspector and judge S.K. Chaturvedi, deputed by superintendent of police (CID) Shams Tabrez, highlighted the importance of the test.

“With development in science, criminals have become smarter, but experience says that every criminal leaves some clue. Photographs taken in the right manner help collect such clues. Thus it is very important for a police officer taking photographs to analyse the importance of clues to ensure conviction,” he said.

He added that the three best photographers would get to participate in the All India Police Duty Meet scheduled from February 8 to February 15 at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. If any of them won an award at the meet, they will be eligible for an out of turn promotion.

Besides photography skills, observation power and finger print collection skills were also tested on Thursday. For the observation power test, as many as 24 officers turned up, while for the fingerprint collection test, there were 38 officers.

For the observation test, participants got five minutes to observe paper cuttings related to election of US president Barack Obama and then given questions related to Obama, which they had 45 minutes to answer.

For the fingerprint collection exercise, participants were given half an hour to develop fingerprints from an exhibit and then asked various questions associated with it.