Homicide and Serious Crime

The Homicide and Serious Crime Command is responsible for the investigation of homicide and other serious crimes in London.

Murder Investigation Teams investigate:

  • All murder, manslaughter and infanticide offences;
  • Deaths within the workplace or mass disaster where culpability for the loss of life is likely to be an issue in criminal court
  • Attempted murder where the evidence of intent is unambiguous or where a risk assessment identifies substantive risk to life
  • High-risk missing persons where there is a substantive reason to suspect life has been taken or is under threat
  • Linked series of two or more stranger rapes which are beyond the capability of SCD2 Sapphire Command or other 'critical incidents'

Additionally, the teams provide advice for the MPS and other police forces on 'High Risk' situations.

The Central Criminal Court Trials Unit

The Central Criminal Court Trials Unit supports London's Murder Investigation Teams in prosecuting the offenders of serious crime. The unit assists officers through a close working relationship with the Crown Prosecution Service in order to improve communication lines and the quality of cases that are presented at the London Crown Courts and in particular the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey.
Direct intervention is made at an early stage to identify potential difficulties in order that the important trial phase can run efficiently and as smoothly as possible. The unit also advocates good practice and procedure through the Policy Unit, Forensic Science Services and the Detective Training Academy.

Community & Partnership

The Community and Partnership unit have responsibility for coordinating community engagement on behalf of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command. As part of their remit they are managing an education programme across schools and community projects within London, which is an innovative programme that raises young people's awareness of the effects of homicide. In particular, how people present at a murder may be culpable of the murder if they are deemed to be part of a 'joint enterprise'. The unit also provide advice and guidance to Major Investigation Teams in respect of building effective partnerships both with outside agencies and communities and acts as a single point of contact for all long term community engagement initiatives.

Coroner's Office

The primary role of the Coroner's Office is to ensure that deaths of a violent nature and those that are unnatural or sudden with an unknown cause are investigated within the legal constraints of coronial law. Coroner's Officers also act as a conduit between operational command units, the Coroner's Office and importantly, the families of victims. Key roles are the identification of the deceased, to support officers in the recovery of the body and subsequent enquiries into the possible causes of death.

Disaster Victim Identification (DVI)

The team works closely with all other business groups in the MPS, particularly Counter Terrorist Command and with external partners, including hospitals and local authorities. Their responsibilities include development of standard operating procedures providing guidance to officers and staff on how to deal with a major incident which has resulted in large numbers of deaths. This will include training and awareness sessions (internally and externally), tactical advice on the various aspects of DVI and the integration with a major investigation.

Family Liaison Advisory Team (FLA)

One of the primary roles of the FLA Team is to provide specialist strategic and tactical advice. This is delivered to colleagues, partners and other agencies to support the work of Family Liaison Officers (FLO's) ensuring compliance of organisational and national policy. This is supported by conducting operational debriefs of FLO deployments across the MPS. The FLA Team ensure, in conjunction with the National Police Improvements Agency (NPIA), the production and maintenance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and work with colleagues at the Crime Academy to provide Family Liaison training.

Homicide Task Force (HTF)

The Homicide Task Force (HTF) is a proactive resource of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command. The HTF supports the command with technical and tactical advice and implementation of operational tactics to assist murder investigation teams. A key role of the HTF is tracing and apprehending murder suspects, this involves the HTF supporting taskings from the murder investigation teams and assuming responsibility for locating and arresting suspects wanted for murders. The HTF also specialises in the support of armed operations on behalf of the command and is continually developing skills and tactics for use in all of the above functions.

The Specialist Casework Investigations Team (SCIT)

The Special Casework Investigations Team (SCIT) is based at NSY and is an additional resource for the OCU Commander. A significant proportion of the work undertaken by a small team of experienced detectives is to progress new lines of enquiry, identified through the Specialist Crime Review Group's review of unsolved cases. They are the first line of response for the many questions and enquiries coming into the command, from the public and our police colleagues, which require research, development or investigation.

Police Staff

The Homicide Command has a large number of professional police staff working to provide the organisational capability and support to support the Homicide and Serious Crime Command. They include: HOLMES (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System) Support, which is a national system used to administer enquiries, Business Support (including HR, Resources, Finance and Business Planning), research and analysis, and investigative support functions.