If you are looking for Glamour, Gadgets and Grissom you won't find them here. Forget what you think you know about 'Forensics', these are the tales of one man and his brush. Of course these views do not represent the views of any Police Force or indeed reflect any Force Policies ya da ya.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


Unlike those American TV shows, where an handsomely rugged male can walk into a Crime Scene and spot the smallest piece of case-winning evidence from 30 yards causing the suspect to break down into a full on reluctant confession, the reality is sometimes less sensational and we often end up empty handed and bow our heads and shake it slightly with apologetic sorrow and say ' I'm sorry there is nothing further we can do.' This isn't always the end of an investigation, there may be other lines of enquiries which the officer will deal with.

The reaction to this news always provokes wide range of responses, some people are very understandable and appreciate you've done all you can, others will expect it and would have usually uttered the immortal line of 'Your wont find anything mate!' as I walk in the door. Some, those that live and breathe the aforementioned TV shows, are absolutely disgusted that you haven't turned up with 3 other colleagues shining pretty blue lights, swabbing anything that fails to move and given the inside of their house a nice coat of silver. This is usually followed by the idiot mantra of 'You would do it if it was a Murder!', that's because a persons life is more valuable than an Elizabeth Duke bejewelled gold Clown Necklace.

Sometimes however, you will seize anything just to avoid giving the bad news as some people clearly have the worst luck in the world and your sorrowful apology will be the final nail in the coffin. On one such occasion a house had been broken into, simple insecure point of entry, small tidy search of a few jewellery boxes and off goes the offender his pockets bulging with a few generations jewellery. As I come to end of my examination, it is clear that the offender has been wearing gloves, due to the marks found on most of the things touched. Their wasn't any other useful evidence or a single usable fingerprint developed during the exam, yet I took away a few marks (of very poor quality that would surely cause hysterics at the Fingerprint Lab).

My reason for this deception was clear, this family needed a little bit of hope because they had lost all theirs. The family, a Father and his two Daughters, had been out during the Burglary, at the hospital for a follow up appointment for one Daughter after she had surgery to remove a tumour. The news wasn't good, it had returned, they had stopped off on the way home to visit the cemetery to update their recently deceased wife and mother and then returned home to find the house broken into. Amongst the Jewellery was a wedding ring, as the Father relayed this to me, he begins to cry causing his daughters to do the same. I diligently lift a few 'marks' , explain the possibility of the offender wearing gloves, but state that I will be submitting some mark anyway in case there was more than one offender or for some reason he removed is gloves.

I think they understood the futility of my actions, but they seemed to receive the news well and thanked me for my help. I still don't know if it was the right thing to do, it did help the situation, but I couldn't help thinking that it was a bit of selfish of me to deceive them just to avoid an unpleasant situation.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Project Thyself

Story Time! All forces have their Career Criminals, those that have been in and out of prison as often as we have been in out of the house (to go to work and earn a honest living). Once they have been caught a few times they start to get wise to the sort of evidence they are leaving behind and are twice as careful the next time, thus reducing the amount of times they get caught and increasing their opportunities of ill gotten gains.

During the Summer Hols a year or so ago we had a large spate of Burglaries to Schools on our patch with ceiling mounted projectors being the swag of choice. These particular offences were drawing a blank on anything useful forensic wise, huge woolly glove marks and careful points of entry, so DNA and Fingerprints were sparse or more accurately non existent, we had some decent Footwear marks but without the shoes to compare them to they were useless. Everyone back at the station had their suspicions on who it was and he a local scroat who seen his fair share of cell doors.

I made it my personal mission to identify this chap forensically, not because of my social moral conscience but because I was sick of trying to track down Caretakers during non-term times and arrange convenient times to conduct examinations.

After drawing blanks on another few schools I turn up to a particular school who have been 'done' for the third time in as many weeks. Same story again, tidy point of entry, woolly glove marks all over the place, projector taken and a half decent footwear mark. Although this one was slightly different as a more thorough search of the classroom had been carried out. 'How has he had time to search through here, did the alarm not go off?' I ask the caretaker. 'Well the PIR sensor in here is a bit dodgy and he's sellotaped some paper over it!', 'Has he indeed!' If this had been a cartoon then a bright lightbulb would have appeared above my head as well as Double Helix strands in my huge eyes. See the sellotape had come from the teachers desk, but there were no scissors in sight for cutting, the edges of the tape were rough as if bitten off! So straight to Lab it went, it came back with the profile of the chap we all suspected it and whats more his shoes were match to at least 5 of the other breaks in the area. So it was goodnight from him for at least another term or so.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Change gives the Illusion of Progress

So you may have noticed I have made some changes to the site! As the site is approaching 10,000 hits I thought that is was time for a change to maintain some momentum and take the opportunity to reflect on site itself. You will see I have changed the colours to fall in line with the corporate image of most Police Forces and to add a bit of professionalism.

OK, I am not fooling you with my pseudo management speak, truth be told I am running out of ideas and instead of sitting down and coming up with another insightful, intelligent and witty post I ended up revamping the site a little. As you may have noticed my posting has been a bit sparse of late, but I'm still getting people visiting here each day so I must be doing something right.

So if you have been visiting the site recently in the vain hope that I have posted another nugget of pure Blog gold then thank you and sorry for the lack of activity. I will be continuing to post as often as possible, but if you have any suggestions on what sort of things you would like me to post then drop me a line. If you are a CSI in the UK or indeed anywhere and you want to contribute with your own stories then let me know I'll be more than happy to oblige.

Finally if you have linked to my blog and I have not reciprocated then I apologise, drop me an email or leave a comment and I'll deal with it. Also my links section is looking a bit slim so if you want me to add a link let me know.