Contemporary Challenges in Homicide Investigation

Fiona Brookman, Sophie Pike

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we consider some of the challenges inherent in contemporary homicide investigations in England and Wales. Drawing on existing literature and empirical data from our own research, we focus upon organisational changes and some of the new, and persistent, challenges faced by those tasked with investigating this most serious crime. We discuss three distinct contemporary investigative challenges at the organisational level: (i) effective use of forensic science and technology, (ii) depleted resources and austerity impacts and (iii) managing social media. As will become apparent, some of the contemporary challenges experienced by investigators are associated directly with the emergence of new investigative opportunities, whilst others are perennial problems that have either never gone away or have resurfaced. Despite increased opportunities to successfully investigate homicide afforded by advances in science and technology, in many countries clearance rates are in decline. It is not yet completely clear what is driving these downward trends, but we suggest that the challenges that we have discussed in this chapter are contributing factors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Homicide Studies
EditorsKyle A. Burgason, Matt DeLisi
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-1003399476
ISBN (Print)978-1032505305
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2024


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