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Specialist Crime Directorate

Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD)

Homicide and Serious Crime Command

Who we are

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

The Metropolitan Police Service is the only police service in the UK to have a Chief Officer nominated to oversee all homicide investigations and develop policy in this area.

Their work is supported by:

  • Central Criminal Court Trials Unit
  • Coroner's Office
  • HOLMES Support
  • Forensic Review Support

What we do

Murder Investigation Teams investigate:

  • Murder, manslaughter and infanticide offences;
  • Attempted murder, where the evidence of intent is unambiguous or where a risk assessment identifies substantive risk to life;
  • Missing persons or abductions, where there is a substantive reason to suspect life has been taken or is under threat; and
  • Other investigations identified for specialist needs.

In addition, the teams provide advice for the MPS and other police forces on 'High Risk' situations such as missing people. The Homicide Task Force proactively conducts work in terms of murder suppression and 'man hunts' for murder suspects.

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.

The Special Projects Investigation Unit provides an additional review capability for murder and other serious crime and critical incident investigations. In addition to review, the Unit provides an investigative response in particular or exceptional cases.

The primary role of the Coroner's Office is to ensure that murder/critical incident investigations are correctly undertaken within the legal constraints of Coroner's powers. Coroner's Officers have a key role as liaison between Operational Command Units, Coroner's Office and, importantly, the families of the victims. Another key role is to attend the scenes of unexplained deaths to apply their practical knowledge and experience, in support of officers, in identifying possible causes of death, and to advise on scene preservation and the recovery of the deceased.

The HOLMES Support Unit provides guidance and promotes best practice in the use of HOLMES (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System), which is a national system. The unit consists of the Holmes User Support desk, which deals with all matters relating to policy, enhancements, password maintenance, hardware, application faults and the linking of incidents. HOLMES Account Managers provide first line support to all users including the opening, supervising, problem management and archiving of the Holmes accounts.

Forensic Review Support staff provide forensic review from current or retained scenes of crime evidence. The unit works in liaison with Specialist Crime Review Group and Homicide Units on best practice and provides advice on forensic evidence recovery including innovative forensic science advances.