Professionalising Investigation Programme (PIP) 2: Serious and complex crime

Serious and complex crime is not defined. 

The Serious Crime Act 2007 however in section 2(2) states that a serious offence is one which:

  • is specified or falls within a description specified in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Act
  • in the particular circumstances of the case, the court considers to be sufficiently serious to be treated for the purposes of the application or
  • matter as if it were so specified.


Factors that may identify an offence as serious include those which:

  • involve the use of violence, including the use of weapons and firearms
  • are sexual assaults
  • result in substantial financial gain
  • cause substantial financial loss to the victim
  • are conducted by a large number of persons in pursuit of a common purpose.


There is no available definition of what constitutes a serious or complex investigation, but there is an understanding in the police service of the types of investigation that fit this category. This understanding is generally based on experience. Officers and staff should consider the circumstances of each case.

Find out more about the relevant roles within PIP 2 below.


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