Taseer’s abduction case: ‘Frisky policemen damaged forensic evidence’

Published: August 28, 2011

Expert says evidence gathered from Taseer’s abduction site may not assist investigators. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

LAHORE: Forensic evidence collected from Shahbaz Taseer’s abduction site may not help investigators, courtesy frisky police officers who rushed to the crime scene and mishandled the evidence, a forensic expert said on Saturday.

The police arrived at the scene first, cordoned off the site and then manually searched Taseer’s abandoned vehicle, including its door handles, dashboard, steering, seats and Taseer’s belongings.

Law enforcement personnel prefer collecting tangible evidence that can be seen with the naked eye, the officer said.

Usually the clues are hidden in the forensic evidence that cannot be seen with the naked eye, he added.

But in collecting their evidence, the law-enforcement personnel unintentionally leave behind their fingerprints, making it extremely difficult for forensic experts to gather necessary and relevant evidence.

Similarly, all forensic evidence in Taseer’s case had been damaged by the time the forensic team reached the site, four hours later, he said, adding that they were informed about the incident quite late.

The forensic van, therefore, was unable to collect ‘true’ fingerprints since all potential spots were touched repeatedly by other law enforcement officials.

The evidence gathered is insufficient to assist the investigators in tracing the abductors, he said.

(Read: Shahbaz Taseer and today’s Pakistan)

Legislate to preserve evidence

This isn’t the first time though that the police have been a hindrance in its own investigation. Forensic evidence was also lost in the case of American aid expert Warren Weinstein who was abducted on August 13 and has yet to be recovered.

The forensic team had to return unsuccessfully because police personnel, including senior officials, had rummaged through Weinstein’s belongings, damaging all forensic evidence, the official said.

If evidence can be preserved for the forensic team to gather properly, the experts can aid the investigators, especially in cases of abduction, he added.

The government should authorise only forensic experts to collect evidence from the crime scene, while the police should be directed to only cordon off the site, said the official suggesting legislative measures.

No one should be allowed access to a crime scene until trained forensic experts have collected the evidence, he added. This year the Punjab government established a state-of-the-art forensic science agency with 14 disciplines. The government has hired 30 forensic experts who are trained in the United States.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.

Reader Comments (17)

  • TopGun
    Aug 28, 2011 - 9:53AM

    How foolish is our police.

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  • Aug 28, 2011 - 10:07AM

    Its time to revive our pathetic police force that is useless and backward. Expecting miracles from ill trained and illiterate force is like living in fools paradise. Our rulers from decaded left Police in a miserable state and now going through a tough phase. We need to rewamp our Policing system from ground up involving technology and forensics otherwise we will loose great citizens who will either die or leave Pakistan. Pakistan will soon turn in to jungle with vultures and beasts if we do not act urgently.Wake up Pakistan before its too late.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 28, 2011 - 10:09AM

    The is a true example of illiterate policemen who have been inducted in police jobs after receiving bribes by the recruitment staff or have the blessing of senior police officers to get jobs in the police for their loved ones of their chachay mamay.

    These illiterate policemen after reaching at the site should have waiting for the forensic lab and the staff but they showed extra-efficiency to prove their best ability and in order to get the shoulder promotions, they damaged the finger prints evidence of the abductors, thus leaving no room for the real forensic experts to do their job.

    In case if the car of Shahbaz Taseer would not have been touched and finger prints of abductors have been obtained, these finger prints would have been sent to NARDA for verification as who were the people behind the abduction of Shahbaz Taseer.

    Every time when police reach at the crime scene after a long period of time, they started investigation without wearing the hand gloves, but this time when I saw on the TV footage that forensic staff have done their jobs after wearing proper hand gloves, I was optimistic that the investigators may find a clue and may trace the abductors.

    The policemen who damage the finger prints from Shahbaz Taseer’s car should be immediately suspended and they should never ever be posted to go and collect the evidence from the crime scene.

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  • Ali
    Aug 28, 2011 - 10:43AM

    How can a Punjab police “shipai” resist the urge to sit in an abandoned Mercedes SLK 200?

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  • she
    Aug 28, 2011 - 10:46AM

    or they did not know how to recover the evidence?

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  • Punjabi
    Aug 28, 2011 - 11:06AM

    Police force is still living in 80z fashion. To understand this one has to visit “Thana” where you’l see police’s infinite wisdom & culture in its TRUE HD Colours.
    This force is more or less proven useless considering the modern world challenges. Criminals are getting more & more advanced by day & our police personnel is still standing as old school “Sntry Badshah” This Force is living hell on Tax Payer’s Hard Earned Money like many other Govt. Departments!

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  • wowem
    Aug 28, 2011 - 11:50AM

    Illiterate and ignorant slobs! That’s all this stupid and corrupt police force is and they are very much like the rest of the country….no education, no respect for science, and thus no respect for humanity or human life and dignity. If someone is serious they can start a 10 year program to teach investigation basics to a well-educated and rigorously trained police that is actually worthy of its name.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Aug 28, 2011 - 12:42PM

    One cant say whether destruction of evidence was intentional or otherwise, keeping in view of BB murder case.

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  • Gul Bahadur
    Aug 28, 2011 - 12:47PM

    What happened to the killers of Iranian diplomat in Lahore. What was the outcome of Multan killing of iranian diplomat. Why ajmal malik was released. All these happened during the democratic govts of ppp and the MLN.By the way who killed Salman taseer.Is the killer still in jail or he is shifted to a safer place to arrange for a swap.Good governance of Mr Shahbaz sharif and his efficient law minister.We will know in few days that Tasir family has pardoned the killer.That is the comic end of this abduction.Long live ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PUNJAB.

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  • goggi
    Aug 28, 2011 - 1:09PM

    We call our Lahore Police, because of its efficiency to grab deep in the pockets of Offender/s and then let him/them go, Chiller (from Cheelna “to peel”) = policeman in Lahore and surroundings

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  • Aug 28, 2011 - 1:14PM

    This problem is one that doesn’t require legislation. It just requires changes to the police procedure manual and some additional training.
    Similar problems are faced by law enforcement agencies in other countries, including the USA, so Pakistan is not unique to this issue.
    However, what is unique about us, is our negative attitude and lack of application and learning to do things in a new way. If senior policemen act like this, what hope is there for the sipahi.
    When I saw the images on the TV, with the police handling the victim’s mobile phone without wearing any gloves, I knew then and there that the bumbling policemen have probably trampled the evidence. Being proven right is no consolation.

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  • LayMan
    Aug 28, 2011 - 1:21PM

    @Ali i think you wanted to say “kaka shipai”

    On a lighter note, this one is a little relevant and amusing ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b2OIaXiKDI

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Aug 28, 2011 - 3:00PM

    Do not blame these poorly paid policemen….it is their lack of training that is what the end product is….the officers – seniors & Juniors, I mean Officers in real terms…it is their responsibility who shud be briefing them & training them…this is a continueos process….so blaming the poor policemen is not being fair….Recommend

  • farah
    Aug 28, 2011 - 7:10PM

    LOL they should watch forensic detectives on discovery channel!!!!

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  • Shayaan15@yahoo.com
    Aug 28, 2011 - 7:34PM

    I am a pcs police officer and i can say due to my experience that it is the lack of training on modren grounds that leads to such foolishness.no police training institiution except police college sihala have scientific training wing where forensic science education can b imparted.what is needed is upgradation of our police training schools.I am a pcs police officer and i can say due to my experience that it is the lack of training on modren grounds that leads to such foolishness.no police training institiution except police college sihala have scientific training wing where forensic science education can b imparted.what is needed is upgradation of our police training schools.Recommend

  • Sheeda from Lahore ,Shurli form Isloo
    Aug 29, 2011 - 12:19AM

    @R S JOHAR:
    “One cant say whether destruction of evidence was intentional or otherwise “perhaps then it would be better not to say anything at all.
    Cops in both India and Pak are essentially the same and even 1st world cops lose or “pollute” evidence.

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  • Civil-ian
    Aug 29, 2011 - 2:27AM

    The need for ‘special training for preserving evidence” can easily be fulfilled by watching a couple of episodes of CSI, or Bones!

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