What it’s like to Research Crime

You may have been keeping up to date with my website for a while now, or you may be fairly new to it. Either way I hope youve had a browse through all the pages and what it has to offer. Ive had some people approach me and tell me its got some wonderful resources for writers. Ive had others tell me that its full of inspiration. To be honest, Ill let you make up your own mind on how useful it is.

But if you have been keeping up to date with me, and you have had a look around, you may be aware that Im working on a novel. Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I have a completed first draft that is in the process of some rigorous editing. And although that is potentially one of the hurdles jumped over successfully, its taken more than just writing to get there.

There are several people I need to thank in order to get me to the point I’m at now.

First my lovely friends that got married earlier this year as they gave me the opportunity to be cooped up in a hotel the day before with no internet where I had no choice but to revive the started draft Id began at University.

Second the Lover for being so patient with me all this time.

Third Blackstone Security for giving me the time of day to understand a job I really didnt know anything about

Fourth Winchesters Foreign Liaison Officer for letting me take up his lunch breakso he couldexplain the intricacies of police work across borders.

Fifth Ravenwood Solutions for donating numerous hours of their time in coaching me as to how a personal protection officer operates, and how to deal with any situation

Six International Funeral Assistance Ltd, Budapest for explaining to me how a body is prepared for repatriation

Out of those six points, four involved nuts and bolts research. I did use a book for a lot of my research and some websites too:

The Crime Writer’s Guide to Police Practice and Procedurefor all basics on how the police operate

College of Policing – for more details on policing

But unfortunately that only got me so far. This meant that I had reached an impasse. I didnt mind researching and googling everything but to be honest that wasnt as helpful as I had hoped and I had some very specific questions to ask.

So this time, I started googling something very different.

After attending a day of writing workshops that solely focused on crime writing, my energy was once again renewed, and supplied with more of an idea as to how to get the answers I needed.

I contacted the London Met after all, my crime happened in London but due to my location, I had to contact someone more locally. Which I did, and I gracefully received a reply. There was some to-ing and fro-ing in terms of deciding what I needed to know and the best person to help me, until I was finally passed along to Winchesters International Liaison Officer who gracefully gave up his lunch break in order to see me.

Ive seen a lot of crime drama on the TV and read a lot of it in books, but it was only when I was sat opposite him that I really began to understand how I didnt have a clue. He had to start with the basics and break down how the rank system work thankfully my background in the military helped a little here to speed the process up he then went on to dutifully answer every question I had.

In the same week, Id had a response from a private security firm that Id contacted with regards to personal protection. They were willing to book me in to see them on a day of my choosing and answer any questions I had. I was actually amazed at how accommodating they were.

For over an hour they explained their jobs, discussed my characters as if they were theorised situations and how they would be dealt with. We discussed the involvement of the police and how the relationship between the two would work. At this point, Id already written half my novel and so we spent some time clarifying what Id written and determining how accurate the information was in its believability.

Its never good to rely on just one persons point of view and so I arranged another visit with an additional firm and we talked for over two hours on the details of arranging personal protection.

I then went on to contact the Hungarian police and was put through to a firm they used in conveying bodies back to British soil. Over a number of emails, they were able to establish the routine in cases of murder or natural causes.

I was overwhelmed by the generosity of time that was awarded to me by almost everyone that I contacted. There were several people who, of course, didnt respond which is to be expected.

For me, the research is always the hard part, I dont enjoy it. But being able to get an almost hands on experience was incredible and something that I cant wait to do again in the future. Its also enabled me the opportunity to network with some individuals completely out of my comfort zone and learn about new areas of the world.

Here are some more useful websites that I came across when trying to find the right person:

The Foreign andCommonwealth Officefor information on how to repatriate a body

Interpolfor information on investigating a crime overseas

The Met Police– for all things police related

The Budapest Policefor handling crime in Hungary

Forensic Access for weapon information and ballistics


  1. kimberlywenzler 1st February 2016 at 12:38 pm Reply

    Wow! I haven’t done (much) research yet for a book, so I’m impressed by the work you’ve done in preparing your story. I can’t wait to read it????

    • Natasha Orme 1st February 2016 at 1:11 pm Reply

      Thanks Kimberly! With this one, I found myself about half way through and making a lot of stuff up with no knowledge of how believable or accurate it was so I decided to do it properly and actually learn about what I was writing about. It was so much fun!

  2. curtisbausse 4th February 2016 at 3:58 pm Reply

    It’s encouraging to know that people are willing to give up their time to help an author to get the facts right. Thanks for the insights!

    • Natasha Orme 4th February 2016 at 4:50 pm Reply

      Yes, I was quite surprised how willing everyone was and ever so grateful too!

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