Best Practice Manual
for Scene of Crime Examination

European Network of Forensic Science Institutes

   See also the instructional videos on "Crime Scene Investigation and Documentation"


This Best Practice Manual (BPM) aims to provide a framework for the procedures, quality principles, training processes and approaches to the forensic examination of scenes of incidents.

This BPM can be used by ENFSI Member Institutes and other agencies to establish and maintain working practices in the field of Scene of Crime Examination that will deliver reliable results, optimize the quality of the information obtained and produce robust evidence. The use of consistent methodology and the production of more comparable results will also facilitate the interchange of data.

The term BPM is used to reflect the scientifically accepted practices at the time of issue. It does not imply that the practices laid out in this manual are the only good practices used in the forensic field. In this series of ENFSI Practice Manuals the term BPM has been maintained for reasons of continuity and recognition.

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This manual addresses the entire forensic process at the scene of crime as covered in the standard ISO/IEC 17020 and ILAC-G19, from the arrival of the first officer at the crime scene to the point where the report from the crime scene is written. It encompasses the systems, procedures, personnel, equipment and accommodation requirements for the whole process.

The process has various stages of action including:

  • Undertaking initial actions at the scene
  • Developing a scene examination strategy
  • Undertaking scene examination
  • Interpreting scene findings and ordering further examination
  • Reporting findings

 Earn a Degree in Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Science, Computer Forensics or Forensic Psychology

The law enforcement framework and the legal systems within which scene examination takes place will determine the degree of direct control that an individual Scene of Crime Examiner (SCE) has over each stage of the process, but even where they are not directly involved in any particular stage, they should have access to comprehensive advice on best practice.

Read the Manual

About the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes

The European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) was founded in 1995 with the purpose of improving the mutual exchange of information in the field of forensic science. This, as well as improving the quality of forensic science delivery in Europe have become the main issues of the network. Besides the general work in the fields of quality and competence management, research and development and education and training, different forensic expertizes are dealt with by 17 different Expert Working Groups. ENFSI therefore has been recognized as the monopoly organization in the field of forensic science by the European Commission.

Read more about the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes on their website at