getting started! help!!!

Posted by katharine katharine
hi all,
first of all i live in the uk (wales), so i know itll be a bit different but hopefully someone can give me some advice? basically i want to be out at the crime scenes and collecting evidence in the future, and i have taken a BTEC national diploma in applied science at college that does cover some forensics units, however when it gets to university i have no idea which course to be looking for/taking, as everyones telling me different some say forensic, some crime scene investigation, some crime scene anaylst, some crime scene technician and the list goes on!!!!
all i want to know is what university course should i take that would get me to being out in the crime scenes and collecting evidence!and if there is a best way to doing it at the end i.e being an assistant at first?!

if anyone could help and make it clear what i would have to do i would eternally grateful!
many thanks! x


classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
Hotwired Hotwired
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view

Re: getting started! help!!!

Hi Katherine, I am a CSI in the United Kingdom, I spent thirteen years working in a laboratory for the Forensic Science Service (FSS) before moving out to a constabulary.

I have a cousin who works in Wales as a CSI.

Whilst at the FSS, I did day release at a college and got a BTEC in Applied Biology - very handy as I learned about all the different equipment used to analyse the materials examined at my laboratory well as what other equipment was used by my fellow students who worked in research laboratories in Cambridge, which gave me a broad knowledge base about what is potentially out there for other types of examinations.

I left the FSS to go to university where I studied Zoology - the FSS would take 'any science degree' for their scientists.

Back then (over twenty years ago) there were only two universities offering forensic degrees (MSc level). Since then many other universities have started offering forensic based degrees.

I know that Teeside has a forensic degree with teachers who have extensive experience as forensic scientists and CSI.

A forensic degree would keep your options open to become a forensic scientist, or to go into CSI. Police forces will employ people with bothe forensic and CSI degrees (as well as other people with science degrees who also have some experience of forensics).

A CSI degree would also be alright to get into a police force as a CSI and the FSS now employ CSI although I have never met one and do not know how often they get out of the laboratory to attend crime scenes. I think they work on a lot of terrorist investigations and drugs laboratories for SOCA and other intelligence agencies, rather than directly for police forces.

I attend crime scenes every day, which I prefer to the laboratory - when I worked at the FSS I attended maybe 50 crime scenes in thirteen years (murders, and fire scene/arson investigations), as a CSI I am attending that many in a month (unless I get a major incident, when the nember of scene attendances drops.

CSI attend scenes, assess the potential evidence present, search for evidence and recover it, then decide what to send to the laboratory to get the most potential evidence for a conviction.

Forensic scientists are mostly laboratory based (particularly for the first several years) examining the evidence recovered by CSI and providing statements of the evidential value.

I prefer CSI as I get out more, meet lots of people, know the background of investigations, get to investigate a much broader base of crimes, and spend a lot of time on my own investigating scenes.

Forensic scientists spend a lot of time taking a case from the stores and comparing the evidence already recovered by the CSI and police officers, rarely get out of the laboratory, but when they do, it tends to be for major incidents such as murders, fire scenes and firearms cases.

Apologies if I have repeated myself in this post.

Edit: If you are interested in moving up a ladder with career development, then forensic science has more opportunities for specialisation, CSI has less grades - in the UK we have Volume Crime CSI (level 1) and CSI (level 2), then senior CSI (management level and crime scene management) and then the grades above that are not crime scene attending grades.

Hotwired Hotwired
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view

Re: getting started! help!!!

These NPIA courses have lists of the types of scene and evidence examinations for the various levels and roles of CSI. A lot of this stuff would be covered in the various degree courses at universities, but police forces will still send any new employees on these NPIA courses to make sure they are all up to spec' and aware of any current developments..

Initial CSI course (for level 1 & 2)

Volume Crime CSI (level 1)

CSI (level 2) a conversion course for level 1 CSI...

Development course (which, with experience leads to being a level 2)

Crime scene management (senior CSI and experienced level 2 CSI)

NPIA also have refresher courses for experienced CSIs and the forces will also arrange other courses (such as Fire scene Investigation courses, and more detailed body recovery courses).