Specialized Criminal Investigations
40 College St., Toronto, ON , M5G 2J3
Unit Commander: Superintendent Bryce Evans
Specialized Criminal Investigations (SCI), under the leadership of a Superintendent, is comprised of five investigative units: Homicide, Hold Up, Major Crime Task Force, Sex Crimes, and Forensic Identification Services. Each of these units is staffed by highly trained and experienced criminal investigators who are responsible for carrying out investigations into the most sensitive and serious of offences.
The units within Specialized Criminal Investigations have each established reputations for excellence within the policing community, not only in Canada, but worldwide. Several investigators from these units provide training to other police agencies and frequently represent the TPS as instructors at international law enforcement conferences. The TPS is proud of this reputation.
Collectively members of Specialized Criminal Investigations are committed to the following goals: (i) Ensuring the safety and security of the citizens of Toronto, (ii) assisting and supporting victims of crime, (iii) performing thorough and professional criminal investigations, and (iv) bringing perpetrators of violent crimes to justice.
SCI – Homicide
SCI – Homicide, traditionally known as the Homicide Squad, employs six teams of highly trained investigators that will lead, or support death investigations throughout the City of Toronto.
Members of SCI – Homicide are mandated to respond to the following:
- All homicides occurring within the City of Toronto
- All criminal acts that result in serious bodily harm, or life-threatening injury to an on-duty police officer in the City of Toronto
Additional duties of SCI – Homicide include:
- Assisting and supporting divisional investigators in cases involving suspicious deaths
- Conducting Chief’s Administrative investigations, and supporting the Provincial Coroner, following deaths of persons in police custody
- Providing education to law enforcement partners, adjunct agencies, and the public in all aspects of death investigations
- Conducting investigations or providing assistance to outside police services, into the deaths of Toronto Police Service members that result from apparent suicide.
- Fulfilling any other duties as directed by the Chief of Police
The Toronto Police Service is fully committed to solving all murders that have occurred in the City of Toronto. To this end, SCI – Homicide employs a Cold Case section with a team of experienced investigators dedicated to uncovering fresh evidence in historical cases. Members of SCI – Homicide also act as a resource to officers city-wide with regard to investigations of Attempted Murders, and act as trainers to other TPS members on best practices in conducting death and major investigations.
SCI – Hold Up
Established in 1958 in response to a rash of violent bank robberies, the Hold Up Squad, now SCI – Hold Up, is responsible for conducting investigations into the following offences:
- Robberies occurring at retail business establishments
- Robberies occurring at financial institutions
- Robberies involving armoured truck personnel
- Home Invasion robberies
Within the policing community, the term “Hold Up Squad” has become synonymous with the Toronto Police Service. Responsible for identifying and apprehending violent and often armed criminals, members of the Hold Up Squad have earned a reputation for tenacity and determination in their efforts to bring violent criminals to justice. Members of SCI – Hold Up respond to robbery scenes and commence investigations on a 24/7 basis.
SCI - Major Crime Task Force
The Major Crime Task Force is comprised of a team of investigators responsible for all kidnapping occurrences and murder-for-hire investigations occurring in the City of Toronto. In addition, the Major Crime Task Force is responsible for disrupting and dismantling organized criminal enterprises relating to property crime. This includes, but is not limited to, Auto Thefts, Break-and-Enters, and Cargo Thefts. The Major Crime Task Force has participated in numerous multi-jurisdictional investigations that have led to the disruption and dismantling of organized crime groups throughout the GTA.
SCI – Sex Crimes
Formerly the Sexual Assault Squad, SCI – Sex Crimes is comprised of six distinct sub-units:
- Sexual Assault Section
The Sexual Assault Section of SCI – Sex Crimes is responsible for conducting criminal investigations into sexual assaults occurring in the City of Toronto. The unit is equipped to handle investigations ranging from single incidents to high-profile serial investigations.
- Child Exploitation Section
Members of the Child Exploitation Section (CES) of SCI – Sex Crimes conduct investigations into the exploitation of children via digital media. CES has established a world-wide reputation for excellence in on-line investigations involving child pornography. Given the international reach of the internet, investigations by CES personnel have resulted in the rescue of a multitude of exploited children world-wide and the arrests and prosecutions of hundreds of offenders. Members of CES have received numerous awards and act as instructors to police officers around the world in on-line child exploitation investigations.
- Human Trafficking Enforcement Team
Formerly the Special Victims Section, the Human Trafficking Enforcement Team is responsible for conducting investigations into the trafficking of victims through sexual exploitation, as well as through forced labour. The rescuing of victims from exploitive situations and their ongoing support and protection is fundamental to the team. The scope of HTET investigations ranges from individual victims to large-scale organized crime syndicates involving multiple victims and offenders.
- Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC)
The Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is staffed by a team of specially trained child abuse investigators. Created in 2013 after several months of analysis and planning, the CYAC brings a team-approach to child abuse investigations. This includes the participation of victim services groups, Children’s Aid workers, and dedicated child abuse prosecutors. The goal of this team approach is to combine professional investigations with on-going protection and support for victims of child abuse from the outset of an investigation, through the court process, and beyond.
- Sex Offender Registry Enforcement Unit
The Sex Offender Registry Enforcement Unit is responsible for tracking offenders listed on either the National- or the Ontario Sex Offender Registries. The unit initiates investigative strategies to ensure offender compliance with conditions imposed on them by the Court. Offenders who are not compliant with conditions are re-arrested and returned to custody. Their primary goal is to ensure community safety when sex offenders are reintegrated into society after a period of incarceration.
- Behavioural Assessment Section
The Behavioural Assessment Section consists of two subsections: High Risk Offender Management, and Threat Assessment. High Risk Offender Management personnel actively manage and monitor individuals who have returned to the community after completing a period of incarceration for violent and/or sexual offences. Threat Assessment personnel conduct threat- and risk-assessments to determine an offender’s potential for future violent behaviour. Intervention and case management strategies are developed to assist in minimizing potential risk to victims of crime and the community at large.
SCI – Forensic Identification Services
Forensic Identification Services’ mandate is to preserve, document, and collect forensic evidence in a professional, objective, and efficient manner and to present this evidence before the appropriate tribunal. FIS is also responsible for the verification of the identity of persons named in criminal records, maintaining the Service’s searchable fingerprint, mugshot, and digital photograph databases, along with a number of other specialized services in support of TPS operations.
Our Forensic Identification Specialists include uniform and civilian specialists and experts on topics such as: Bloodstain Pattern Interpretation, Footwear Impressions, Firearms, Entomology, the Recovery of Human Remains, Fire Cause Determination, Post Blast Evidence Recovery, and CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive) investigations. Other uniform and civilian personnel assigned to FIS perform roles such as: Photo Imaging Technician, Fingerprint Examiner, Lab Technician, Photo Viewing Technician, Document Technician, Mugshot/Booking Co-ordinator, Scenes of Crime Co-ordinator, DNA Co-ordinator, Crime Scene Drawing Technician, and Forensic Artistry.
Members of FIS attend in excess of 30,000 crime scenes a year.