UK's Forensics Experts Develop Advance Training Tool

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A pathologist, detective chief inspector and a Professor have developed a sophisticated real-life tool to train students in Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation

Picture of the mock crime scene

Forensics and CSI training at a Dorset beauty spot

The only difference is that nobody actually died

The UK’s most prestigious forensic experts have joined forces to develop a unique and advanced mock murder investigation, in order to train students in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science.

A Home Office Pathologists and the Detective Chief Inspector who led the Sarah Payne murder investigation have worked on the project, which was led by academics in the School of Applied Science at Bournemouth University.

The scenario centres around the discovery of a young girl, strangled and dumped in heath land at a Dorset beauty spot. The case progresses then through the police and forensic enquiry. Although entirely fictional, there is real evidence, real scenes of crime, real forensic experts and a real Detective Chief Inspector.

“The only difference is that nobody actually died,” said Professor David Osselton, former Head of Toxicology at the Forensic Science Service, who now who heads up the Forensics department at Bournemouth University and led the exercise. “We acted out the whole scenario, with actors playing the victim and the murderer. The story starts at the beginning when a body is found and goes right through to the conclusion with a conviction. It’s as real as you can get.”

Students will analyse fibres on clothing, DNA, drugs found at the scene, crime scene photographs, witness statements, police interviews, a mobile phone and more. They will also watch news coverage and a press conference.

Former Detective Chief Inspector, Martyn Underhill, who worked on high profile cases including the Sarah Payne murder enquiry said: "This is a world where you can’t make mistakes. Simulation is an important learning tool. It gives students the ability to test their own judgement, learn by their mistakes, and value the actual work done by the practitioners in today's forensic world.”

He continued: “It’s impossible for students to learn on real-life murder cases, so this is the next best thing. The scenarios used at Bournemouth University are the best I have seen. They professionalise forensic learning."

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