Crime Scene and Investigations

Work Stream Leads

Claire Gwinnett – Forensic and Crime Sciences Lecturer, Staffordshire University

Sarah Fieldhouse – Forensic and Crime Sciences Lecturer, Staffordshire University

Adam Dodkins – Forensic Coordinator, Staffordshire Police


Work Stream

Each of the 5 work streams identified by Staffordshire Police Forensic Services Department contains a variety of topic areas that require additional research and development through the partnership.  Some are reactive and others proactive, the areas identified for this work stream are listed below:

  • Evidence Capture / recovery – digital & physical *
  • 17020 & 17025 implementation*
  • Proficiency Testing Schemes *
  • DNA recovery method comparison
  • Develop new R&D opportunities
* Key priorities for work stream


Work Stream Aim

The work stream leads have identified the following key aims for the work stream:

  • To enhance the crime scene work conducted by Staffordshire Police with the use of robust research projects.
  • To enhance the information gathered from, and evidential value of, evidence retrieved from crime scenes.


Work Stream Objectives

To meet the identified aims the following objectives will be utilised:

  • Identify R&D topics to maintain standards and enhance current systems.
  • Implement projects that will aid compliance with Forensic Science Regulator Codes of Practice and accreditation.
  • Utilise student projects to test maximise evidence recovery/capture.
  • Plan for future changes in the forensic landscape by investigating new technologies and methods.


Potential Project

The following have been identified within the work stream as potential projects to take forward:

  • Development of proficiency tests to enhance quality standards for investigators and CPD.
  • Development of requirements for evidence retrieval for different crime types/scenes.
  • Comparison between different swabbing techniques and mini tapes for DNA collection.
  • Review of existing protocols to increase effectiveness and reduce time in evidence capture and recovery, e.g. footwear marks.
  • Review of new products and methods for suitability for crime scene work.
  • Methods to create a multidisciplinary approach to evidence recovery including CCTV, digital and physical evidence
  • Appraisal of under-utilised evidence types, e.g. fibres, from different crime types.
  • Development of student crime scene experiences showing the real work of forensic investigators, including employability advice sessions.


Helpful Definitions

Digital Evidence: aka electronic evidence is any probative information stored or transmitted in a digital form that can be utilised in a court of law.

Physical Evidence: Any item, whether biological, chemical or impression, that can be utilised in a court of law.

ISO/IEC 17025 and 17020: standards to which forensic providers and police must adhere and which must underpin quality systems being implemented. These standards form the basis of accreditation. 17025 refers to the general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories and 17020 refers to the requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection.

Proficiency Testing: determination of the performance of individuals and laboratories for specific tests, measurements or tasks. Used to monitor continuing performance.