Approaching A Forensic Scene as a Roadside & Recovery Technician 2022-07-12T14:25:15+00:00
AWARE Series Knowledge Exchange

Approaching A Forensic Scene as a Roadside & Recovery Technician

Gaining entry of vehicles safely and legally

Regarding a casualty vehicle, it is important to enter a vehicle in a safe and legal manner to reduce legal issues and minimise disruption to a potential criminal investigation. We provide some guidance to help ensure this can be achieved.

Tip 1: If a vehicle is located beyond a hard shoulder e.g. land/private premises, permission to access the vehicle must be obtained first by the landowner.

Tip 2: The technician should provide a highvisibility reflective safety garment to the motorist, if involved in the access process. wherever possible via the safe side (away from the direct flow of traffic). 

Tip 3: The casualty vehicle should be entered wherever possible via the safe side (away from the direct flow of traffic). 

Recovering vehicles safely and legally

It is equally important to recover a vehicle in a safe and legal manner to reduce legal issues and minimise disruption to a potential criminal investigation. Below are some pointers.

Tip 1: Before any recovery process is carried out, the Technician must carry out a documented risk assessment. This involves not only evaluation of how to gain access, but also the environment and casualty vehicle location.

Tip 2: It is good practice that the technician, Police and HA Traffic Officers present evaluate whether a vehicle recovery should take place when traffic is reduced.

Tip 3: If the hard shoulder is used as part of the recovery process, the technician needs to ensure all appropriate warning beacons and dipped headlights are always switched on, while joining the hard shoulder and whilst on it.

What is PAS 43?

The PAS 43 is the specification for recovery operators and vehicle breakdown. Courses covering PAS 43 guidance are particularly useful given gaining a PAS 43 certification means:

> Proven business credentials

> Customer Satisfaction

> Reduced operating costs 

> Legal compliance

> Improved risk management

> Improved stakeholder relationships

> Ability to win business in regulated sectors

PAS 43

What is SURVIVE?

SURVIVE is a group established to improve safety of those who work on the road network and the public, dedicated to promoting driver safety. The SURVIVE group advocates 10 golden safety rules, 5 of which we highlight in this newsletter.

Rule 1 - Take reasonable care of my own safety, the safety of my colleagues and the motoring public.

Rule 2 - Work within current legislation and maintain an up to date knowledge of relevant rules and laws.

Rule 3 - Only act within my level of authority/expertise and never exceed them.

Rule 4 - Think before I act, if unsure, seek guidance

Rule 5 - Challenge safety related noncompliance by others and report if necessary

SURVIVE - Safe Use of Roadside Verges in Vehicular Emergencies

The importance of evidence in the Roadside & Recovery Industry

It is the responsibility of the R&R technician to ensure contamination of evidence in a transport incidence is minimised. case being unnecessarily closed. Two types of evidence that a R&R technicians need to be aware of

Biological evidence: The most common types of biological evidence include blood, semen, and saliva.

Trace evidence: These types of evidence generally include items of small size, easily lost during handling (hairs, glass fragments, paint flakes, fibres).

To preserve evidence in the Roadside & Recovery industry, this newsletter suggests several tips:

1. Avoid moving functional switches and levers from pre-accident position

2. Beware of carrying sources of ignition to the hazard scene contaminating evidence

3. Tyre marks should be preserved, alongside the condition and inflation pressure of tyres

4. If the vehicle is fitted with a tachograph, the charts and equipment should be left in place for the investigating officer

5. Position of fatally injured casualties extremely important for identification purposes and to help establish an accident cause.

6. Body removal should only be carried out under a police/statutory investigation team direction.

Interested in Learning More?


Why not try out our ForensicAWARE Course?

This course trains you to be competent in the laws required when gaining entry and the recovery of vehicles which are part of a wider criminal investigation.

The course is designed and delivered by our outstanding AWARE Series instructors.

For more information, visit, or email

The course can be delivered remotely or face-face depending on your requirements.

ForensicAWARE can form an accredited and approved module as part of your DCPC.

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