Film ID:
YFA 4630



Visitor Tabs


This lengthy film, made by the West Yorkshire police, chronicles the investigation procedures of a mock murder case, highlighting the necessity of a methodical and thorough police investigation. When a butler is murdered by a burglar, investigators from the West Riding Constabulary use various methods and routes of inquiry to bring the suspect to justice.

The film opens with a burglar breaking into a house through a window. The burglar, wearing a dark suit and flat cap, searches the room for any valuable items before being disturbed by the butler, who attempts to restrain him. The thief cracks the butler over the head with a crow bar several times and makes his escape out the window.

Title – One hour later.

The thief is shown cycling down a busy street. The home owner arrives back at the burgled house.

Title – “Green! Green!”

The homeowner finds the dead butler on the ground and rings a ‘Dr Thomas’ and the police. There is then a close up of a plaque on a door that reads, ‘West Riding Constabulary’, and a close up of a stamp reads, ‘W.R.C Wakefield division’. A close up shows a plaque on another door that reads, ‘C.I.D’. Inside the room, a senior officer sits at a desk making notes. He then picks up the telephone. After a brief discussion, the officer exits the officer with another detective.

Title – “Where is the daily duty chart?”

The investigator inspects a chart while a female clerk looks over his shoulder.

Title –  “Phone P.C. Coulson and Sgt. Patterson to attend the scene at once”.

Three officers exit the West Riding Constabulary Wakefield division headquarters and climb into a car. There is then another shot of the thief cycling along a street, before a close up shows the ‘Daily Duty chart’, with the ‘P.C. Coulson’s’ name highlighted.  A civilian walks along a street and stops an on-duty constable.

Title – A minor complaint – briefly noted. Is it significant?

The policeman notes down the civilians complaint before they part ways. At the burgled house, a police officer arrives and is shown the butlers body.

Title – Golden Rules: 1. Ascertain that life is extinct. 2. Touch nothing. 3. Guard scene.

The officer takes the butlers pulse before exiting the room. A doctor’s car then drives towards the camera, and, escorted by an officer, the doctor is shown to the body.

Title – “Please tread carefully Doctor, and don’t disturb the body unnecessarily”.

The doctor inspects the body and discovers one of the burglars buttons - torn away during the struggle. The doctor goes to pick it up, but the officer grabs his hand, stopping him from doing so. The C.I.D. arrive on scene, and give an officer guarding the property is given instructions.

Title – “…and don’t leave this door”.

The thief is again shown cycling along a street, before the investigators enter the room where the murder took place.

Title – Without disturbing anything, the Divisional Supt. and the Chief Det. Inspector make a preliminary examination.

The investigators examine the crime scene, looking for any clues that might help paint a picture of what the butler saw; they look at the torn off button, the ransacked chest of draws, and the point of entry (window), where a piece of clothing fibre is found.

The thief continues to cycle along. Close ups of two plaques shown subsequently read, ‘West Riding Constabulary Headquarters’ and ‘Detective Superintendent’. There are then shots of the Detective Superintendent making notes at his desk.

Title – A post mortem examination cannot be made without the Coroner’s permission.

The detective superintendent picks up the phone, before there is a close up of a plaque on a door that reads, ‘Pathologist’. Inside the room, the pathologist answers the phone and gives a coroner the instructions. The coroner inspects his kit, checking that all necessary items are there. A man then enters the chief constables officer, reading him a transcript.  More police vehicles begin to arrive at the crime scene, and two officers carrying cases enter the premises.

Title – A general survey!

Two senior officers wearing suits inspect the crime scene.

Title – A full series of photographs, before anything is disturbed.

The official photographer moves in and captures the crime scene, using a flash for one shot.

Title - …to show every detail of the scene.

Another photograph is taken.

Title – Pathologist examines the body…

The pathologist handles the butlers head.

Title - …for rigidity…

He then lifts and drops the arms, before repeating the procedure with the legs.

Title - …temperature…

The pathologist unbuttons the butler’s shirt, feeling beneath.

Title - …to find the approximate time of death.

The pathologist speaks to the investigators in the hall, before the butler is stretchered away.

Title – Now for the detailed examination of the crime scene.

A special spray is used on various surfaces around the room to detect finger prints.

Title – A good “Mark”!

A close up of three finger prints on a wooden surface.

Title – The blood stained poker, negative for fingerprints, is handed to the pathologist’s assistant.

The poker is handed to the pathologist’s assistant, before a cutaway shows the thief smoking a cigarette by a fence. An investigator talks to the home owner.

Title – “What was in this box?”

Title – “About twenty pounds in notes, some silver and a watch.

Title – Can you identify any of the property?”

Title – “Yes, I have the number of the watch in my diary”.

An officer listens to the investigator, taking notes as he speaks.

Title – The minor complaint assumes significance.

The investigator then sends the officer off, before he speaks to the home owner again.

Title – Do you mind if I take your fingerprints for the purpose of elimination? They will be returned to you or destroyed, as you wish.”

The homeowner’s prints are taken. The constable introduces the witness who made the minor complaint to the constable earlier. Away from the crime scene, the thief discards the bicycle in a shrub, and, walking back onto the path, is spotted by a civilian. 

Back at the house, an investigator makes a call to the ‘M.O. department’, where a senior officer at a desk answers.

Title – Express message.

The officer on the phone scribbles notes, handing the transcript to a clerk who works it up on a typewriter. A female clerk and an officer rush to a switchboard, and a diagram illustrates the police report being distributed from the Wakefield Branch to major districts across mainland Britain. There are then a series of shots a printing press spitting out copies of the police report. A close up shows the report in more detail, as it states the murder took place in Wakefield at 11.45 A.M on Monday, 1st of May, 1944. The reports are then folded and stamped with addresses for different constabularies across Britain. 

A shot then shows a sign on a brick wall that reads, ‘London and North Eastern railway’, and a man carries a bundle of reports into the station, before a shot shows a train leaving.  Back at the crime scene, an investigator opens his case which contains specialised equipment.

Title – Everything to hand!

The investigator uses tweezers to remove a fabric fibre from the window sill, before placing it in a plastic bag.

Title – Articles found are packed in separate containers and labelled.

The rest of the evidence is catalogued and bagged.

Title – A “control” sample of soil.  

Soil is scooped into a plastic bag using a spoon.

Title – Inquiries made at likely places.

Outside a shop called, ‘J.W. Dale’, investigators walks along the street. A montage of signs to various establishments illustrates specific sites of inquiry:  the signs include ‘Tower Billiard Hall’, ‘Harold Whone –Motor cycles’, ‘Greyhound sports stadium’, ‘Employment exchange’, ‘Midland hotel’ and the ‘Brunswick hotel’. The investigators are then shown entering and exiting a bicycle shop, before shots show the thief walking along a country lane.

In the mortuary, finger nail scrapings are taken from the butlers’ hands, before being packaged and placed into an envelope.

Title – A post mortem examination to determine the exact cause of death… 

Title - …and a blood “control” is taken.

Shots capture post mortem team filling a small bottle with victim’s blood. The victim’s clothes are then wrapped up.

Title – The victim’s fingerprints for elimination.

Fingerprints are taken from the butler, with a close up showing the resulting print. Shots inside the police laboratory capture the team wrapping the clothing.

Title – The clothing will be examined for material which might connect the criminal with his crime.

The specialists send a note back to the constabulary saying the clothing has arrived. The fingerprint specialist is then handed an enlarged print of a finger print lifted from the scene.

Title – A case for the single fingerprint collection.

The specialist continues to analyse the prints. A meeting is captured between senior investigators the case, who sit round a table wearing suits.

Title – An essential feature of important investigation – conferences.

An officer then enters with a message.

Title -  “The suspect’s prints are not filed, sir”.

Moving away from a meeting, two boys discover the thief’s ditched bike. A constable arrives.

Title – “Now, Jackie what have you got there?”

Title – “We’ve just found this bicycle, Mr Burnley.”

The policeman checks the identification number against the one reported missing.

Title – “Don’t touch Sonny, stop here on guard, I shall be away only a few minutes.”

The officer hops on his bicycle and cycles to the nearest phone box, where he reports the bike. The investigators then arrive at the scene.

Title – The chief inspector goes forward alone – the less interference with the scene the better.

The chief inspector briefly examines the bicycle.

Title – Methodical search!

The forensics team set about checking the bike for prints.

Title – No luck! No useful prints.

The bicycle is then stowed away in the back of the policeman, while the chief gives a constable instructions.

Title – “Question road users as to anyone seen near this place”

The officer then stops a cyclist - the one who spotted the thief dumping the bike - and he passes on the information.

Title – “Further information”

A switchboard is then shown with cables being slotted at speed into different terminals. Again, a diagram illustrates that the information is being distributed across mainland Britain. A new report is then shown, amended with a brief description of the suspect.

Title – Inquiries continue.

The sequence opens with a shot of a pub sigh that reads, ‘Beverley’s. Windmill Inn. Beers are best’. A police car pulls up to the inn and the investigator leaves a note with the proprietor. Another sign reads, ‘Harold Hepworth’, ‘the Angel Inn’, ‘Cock & Crown Hotel’. An investigator leaves a police car and heads inside a non-descript building.

Title – Local records…

The witness is then shown documents containing mug shots of various suspects, and the witness shakes his head.

Title - …and clearing house records…

Title - …are searched to establish the identity of the suspect.

The thief is then shown walking along a busy high street.

Title – Criminals know no boundaries – police investigation must be widespread.

A montage evidences the policemen’s widespread search; they talk to bus drivers, pedestrians, passengers on a platform; visit lodging house such as the ‘Workman’s Hostel’ and ‘the model lodging house’. The montage continues with superimposed images showing an officer mouths moving, knocking on doors, visiting hotels and apartments.  The thief then stops at a café for a spot of lunch. Next, officers on the beat are continually shown searching the streets. Investigators then arrive at the café, and talk to some of the employees.

Title – Thorough inquiry has its reward.

An employee points the investigators in the direction of the thief and the officers set off. After driving down several streets, the officers eventually spot the thief and a foot chase ensues, with the officers catching the man after he takes a tumble.

Title – The usual caution administered here.

The man is placed under arrest, with the investigator finding a wad of cash, a pocket watch and a flick knife in his pockets. The investigators also notice the button missing from his jacket, before they cart him off back to the car.  The man is remanded in custody. The thief removes his hat and shoes.

Title – Clothing carefully removed for scientific examination.

The officers then survey evidence found in the man’s pockets.

Title – The prisoner’s property is recorded and checked with him – there can be no dispute later.

The burglar confirms the items are his.

Title – The property clue! He is formally cautioned and charged.

The investigator has a frank discussion with the burglar.

Title – “Do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge?  You are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so, but whatever you say will be taken down in writing, and may be given in evidence.”

The burglar makes a comment, which the inspector notes in his pad as, “I have nothing to say”.

The thief is handed document that is headed with a title that reads, ‘Information of all persons who are to be detained in the police cells’. A close up highlights a section detailing finger prints procedure.

Title – A necessary question! “Have you any objection to your fingerprints being taken?”

The burglar shakes his head. The burglar’s clothes are then sent to the ‘Forensic science laboratory, Bishopgarth, Wakefield’. The thief is then taken to his cell. A close up of a police report is shown that details the arrest of suspect and capture of a significant portion of property.

Title – Evidence.

Shots show the individual pieces of evidence. Stop motion animation is used to unite the button found at the scene on the crime with the thief’s jacket. Other matches are made; the shoes are matched against the cast taken from the scene, and the watches manufacture number is matched with the owner’s information. All the evidence is again packed up and sent to the laboratory in Wakefield.  Close ups of matched finger prints follow.

Title – The final phase.

Shots show the thief in court, and there are shots of the prosecutors presenting their case while the judge and jurors listen. A newspaper stand then reads, ‘Northern news. Murder verdict - Guilty’. A sign on a wall then reads, ‘H.M. Prison Entrance’, and shots show the wrought, iron gates opening to emit a van.

Title – Lessons:  Approaching, searching and handling exhibits at a scene of a crime.

Title – All phases of an inquiry are equally important, however remote they first appear.

The preceding events are re-capped.

Title – But for this…

Title - …and this…

Title - …there would not have been this!

Final shot shows the newspaper headline again.

Title – The end.

Title – A W.R.C . Instructional Film.