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Body recovery from hostile environments: A test of three kits

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Forensic Science International
Issue number1-3
Volume220
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)147-153
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) procedures and protocols have largely been standardised through the creation of, and amendments to, the INTERPOL DVI Guide. Whilst robust in addressing the recovery of mass fatality victims resulting from natural disasters, accidents and acts of terrorism, the guide does not explore the problematic issue of recovery of fatalities during active conflicts or peacekeeping operations where the environment may be hostile and the time taken to perform the task may impact significantly on the risk of injury or additional fatalities. This study tested the viability of the current UK style body recovery kit for use in a hostile environment simulation and compared its performance to two new bespoke kits specifically designed by the first author for this purpose. The aim was to recover the maximum amount of available physical evidence to support possible future judicial review, maintain respectful dignity for the deceased and focus on the safety of those fulfilling this task who may be operating on the front line. The kits were tested by military personnel experienced in hostile environment deployment. The trials showed that the time taken to record and recover the deceased could be reduced from 40 min using the standard DVI kit to just over 2 min using a bespoke kit. It was also shown that evidential recovery was not adversely affected and it is suggested that personal safety could be significantly enhanced if the proposed methodology and kit were adopted.