About Farah Mendlesohn

The School of Law, Policing and Forensics at Staffordshire University offers the LLB, MA and LLM; degrees in Policing and Criminal Investigation, Sociology, Criminology and Terrorism and Forensic Science and Investigation. With over fifty staff members we have expertise in rape testing, prevention and prosecution, ballistic testing, fibre analysis, soil analysis, family law and employment law among others. We offer BA and BSc, MSci and MScs along with a Masters by Applied Research in a range of areas including forensic archaeology. @StaffsUniLPF @StaffsFACS_Dept @StaffsUniLaw

Staff, Student, Mother, Student, Staff?

What it’s like being both sides of the campus! by Sharon Lees

Which head is on first today? I’m staff this morning, studying over lunch and a student in a practical this afternoon, and staff again later clearing up a different practical. Working full time in the School of Sciences as well as studying for a degree there is a juggling act. I have two diaries, an outlook calendar that sends reminders to my phone and personal calendar, also linked to my phone, and numerous post-its and lists dotted around various desks and bags. I’m nearly forty and lucky if I can remember to put my shoes on instead of walking out for work in my slippers.

Fellow students think I have an easy ride because I work here. No. I work in Forensic Science and am studying Biomedical Science. Very different areas. One ignores that I am a member of  staff because I am a student. One doesn’t take me seriously as a student because I do not attend socials and pub nights.

Staff think I know what I am doing because I am staff, and are very cautious of seeming to give me assistance in case it is viewed as favouritism. I feel I have to do well, or how will they view me?

I have two children who think I know what I am doing because I am a parent, and can’t understand why I want to fall into bed at six o’clock but have to stay up until eleven pouring over text books. My daughter was in hospital for almost two years, but I still have a mortgage to pay. My depression I have suffered since eleven years old doesn’t understand that I need a clear head and to be able to remember things, and likes to fog my brain for months with blackness. My dog doesn’t understand I cannot walk her when she pleases. My partner cannot understand I cannot go to the cinema and out for a meal at the weekends, I have studying to do. My house cannot understand I have no time for house work and washing and insists on generating dust and dirty crockery.

But I do enjoy it, manic and frustrating and difficult as it is. I enjoy learning, I enjoy investigating new areas of Science. I enjoy lists and organising my time (sad isn’t it) and feeling that I am achieving something every day, no matter how small it may seem at the time. Despite everything life throws at me, with the support of my colleagues and peers, my family and friends, I am still here, still earning and still studying.

Sharon Lees

Technical Support Assistant

Technical Services

Biomedical Science Undergraduate.


Summer Project from Forensics: creating working applications.

Exciting news for one of our Forensic Investigation graduate’s James Duffy and his supervisor Dean Northfield; Lecturer in Criminal Justice and Forensics. 

Dean Northfield

James Duffy

 James who is due to graduate with a BSc in Forensic Investigation this year, was supervised by Dean during his final year project and received widespread interest from judges at this year’s GradEx as well as winning a prize for his work “Can mobile devices influence current photographic working practices within crime scene documentation” .

Jame’s Duffy’s Grad Ex presentation.


This project looked at integrating current mobile camera functionality, alongside newly developed optical equipment relating to forensic work, for example macro lens for close up forensic photography.

Following this interest Dean and James will be spending time this summer creating detailed user interface designs and specifications with the aim to develop a working prototype mobile Application.

With the help of Staffordshire University’s business development services department, a number of applications for funding will be explored, including the Crisford Fund which is aimed at Level 6 students completing their final year projects and who wish to commercialise their work http://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/50yc/competitions/ach-crisford-charitable-foundation-development-grants/ as well as opportunities to publish the research outcomes of James research.

Taking the School of Law, Forensics and Policing out for the Day.

We’ve been out and about today at the Staffordshire County Show. The day was lovely and we had the chance to chat to people interested in our degrees.

SU Alumn (nursing)



Alumni family, both retired police officers.

It was particularly lovely to meet some of our alumni from nursing, counselling and law, and ex-police officers who came up to talk to us about how impressed they were by policing graduates and what they brought to the force.



9:00 am and this was our first ‘customer’. And look! She matches!


The team try to solve the puzzles we are giving away.


“Now what were you thinking of studying at university?


At the end of the day we had the chance to look around.

Boer Goats

Spinning wool

Judging cattle

Lichfield Mobile Belfry

End of Year Round Up

It’s the end of the first semester as a new school and things are beginning to settle into their new shape.

There have been many student successes. Kerry Willis who is graduating from Forensic Science has a position as an intelligence analyst with Derbyshire police; Tayla Pomroy will be moving to a position as a detention officer;

Victrina Cuffie

Victrina Cuffi has been called to the bar while Arpan Bedi has been awarded a BPTC scholarship by Middle Temple. Harriet Rowley was awarded a Temple Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS).

Kayleigh Shepphard

PASS is a scheme in place to assist those from “non-traditional” backgrounds to gaining a career at the Bar; this includes help in attaining mini-pupillages, as well as the opportunity to attend networking and advocacy workshops. Sociology students created an important theatrical intervention event with Dr. Emma Temple-Mault which engaged many offender management teams in the area.

Sociology students after the Intervention workshop.

Many of the Forensic Science students joined with students from Keele at the Potteries Museum  for an outreach event on science, technology and the First World War. And one of our PhD Students, Kayleigh Sheppard had an article featured in Forensic Science International.

There are plans for new ventures in the School including a new Small and Medium Sized Legal Services Hub within the School and tied to the Law Clinic which is expanding. Next year there will be a  cross School major incident simulation, a Law Conference for teachers and an Outreach event for British Science Week. A new degree in Criminology and Offender Management, and an MSci in Chemistry both launch next year at our Autumn Open Day on October 15th.  The BA In Criminology and Offender Management is a must for anyone interested in work in the probation service or the prison service.

Louis Martin who will lead the BA Criminology and Offender Management

There are plans shaping up for new Policing degrees and HIgher Apprenticeships to support the forthcoming Police Educations Framework, while Rhonda Hammond-Sharlot is working with local businesses to develop the Legal Practice Higher Apprenticeships–we expect to have at least thirty places by January 2018.

Dr. Graham Williams will join us later this summer as Head of Criminal Justice and Forensics, alongside Ruby Hammer who is Head of Law. We are already advertising new posts in Law to join our team.

Ruby Hammer


The Criminal Justice team also welcomes Dr. Jo Turner as Course Leader of Criminology and Professor James Treadwell as a new Professor within the group. Jo Turner is the co-author of Godfrey, B. Cox, D., Johnston, H., Turner, J.  ‘I am afraid she is perfectly responsible for her actions and is simply wicked’: Reconstructing the Criminal Career of Julia Hyland (Bloomsbury Press).

Jo Turner


James Treadwell is the co-author among other things of Riots and Political Protest and Fan Behaviour and Crime: Contemporary Issues.

Professor James Treadwell

Prior to becoming an academic, he worked for the crime reduction charity NACRO, and qualified as a Probation Officer in the West Midlands, working in both adult and youth settings. He was also an academic advisor on the Howard League Commission into Ex-Military Personnel in Prison.

The School has had good research news with a Winston-Churchill travel fellowship for Dr. Laura Walton-Williams, a book contract for Rachel Bolton-King and a joint contract for the key Torts text book for Ruby Hammer and Matt Sadler. Assoc. Professor Keith Puttick is working with the Sri Lankan government on a new maternity leave policy and is engaged with international organisations on a survey of best practice. Dr. Rainer-Elk Anders is working on an anti radicalization project with colleagues in Birmingham and this summer will be in Ukraine working on anti-terrorism initiatives.

In January Juliet Prince (Policing) and Laura Walton-Williams (Forensic Science) are running an  ‘Investigating Sexual Violence’ Conference. Sarah Page has been successful in her CHAD bid for the a sociological investigation of breast feeding and Public Health. This means there will be a chance for two undergraduate researchers to work with her on real life research.

Matt Sadler

Keith Puttick

Rachel Bolton-King

Laura Walton-Williams


Still thinking? Book your place for an Open Day.


Rainer-Elk Anders

Juliet Prince

Trinidad students called to the bar!

Victrina Cuffie and Jean Waldron were all called to the Bar this month.

Victrina writes:

“I just want to say a special thank you to Staff

Victrina Cuffie

ordshire University for all the love, care and knowledge that was imparted unto us. We got called to the Bar on Thursday 18th May last week at the Hall of Justice. The next morning, I happened to be blessed enough to make the front page of the two largest newspaper houses of our country (Newsday and Express). I got an opportunity to mention Staffordshire University in the brief inpromptu interview outside the Hall of Justice”

Jean Waldron

‘LPC graduate Jean Waldron is shown here being admitted to the Trinidad and Tobago Bar.  Like many of our Trinidad students Jean chose to study full time through the blended learning route in 2015/16.  This is a demanding and rigorous course that requires a high degree of tenacity and commitment.  We congratulate Jean on achieving her ambition of qualifying as a lawyer in Trinidad and wish her all the very best for her future.’ Paul Allen.

What are we doing this summer? The first of an ongoing set of posts…

It can seem that academics have a lot of free time in the summer, but it’s often when we do research work, prepare classes, and organise conferences. I’ll be posting news here from different parts of the School.


Juliet Prince and Laura Wlaton-Williams are spending part of  the summer organising a conference. Farah, myself and Laura are arranging the below and are happy for this to appear on a blog

The Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Department will be holding the inaugural, cross-disciplinary ‘Investigating Sexual Violence’ Conference in January 2018.  The aim of this conference is to explore current challenges and future developments in the entirety of the investigatory process into sexual offences.  The conference will include presentations and workshops from academics and practitioners from within Law, Criminology, Health, Nursing, Psychology, Forensic Science and Policing fields.  This  one day conference is relevant to Police Forces, Criminal Justice Agencies, academics, students and those working for organisations involved in supporting victims of sexual offences.

In addition all the PCI lecturers are spending considerable time over the summer considering the College of Policing proposals regarding apprenticeships and pre-join degrees.


Terror level increased to “Critical”

Dave Tapp (Law School), Solicitor.

On Monday 22 people were killed and 59 others injured at the Manchester Arena as direct result of another mindless terrorist attack. The Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that as a direct result of this attack the terror threat level in the United Kingdom has been increased from severe to “critical”. That means that it is believed that an attack is expected “imminently”.

The UK’s international terrorism threat level is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), based in MI5 headquarters in London. This level has only been implemented twice previously in the United Kingdom and not at all for the last 10 years. The first occasion was in 2006 during a major operation to stop a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners with liquid bombs and also the following year, after a plot to bomb a London nightclub, before going on to attack Glasgow Airport.

As a result of this decision today, Police officials asked for authorisation from the Secretary of State for Defence to arrange a number of armed military personnel to support their own armed officers. This has now been granted and forms part of Operation Temperer.

Operation Temperer has been specifically created so that armed police officers and the armed forces can work in collaboration in an environment of this nature. The impact of this operation means that Key sites normally protected by armed police officers will now be replaced by hundreds of armed forces personnel instead, allowing the armed police officers to increase their local presence and patrol key locations on our streets. Military personnel may also be deployed in events like sports meetings and concerts in the future.

Members of the public are not specifically required to take any particular actions; these security threat levels are set for the police and other security specialists across various sectors of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) to decide on what security protection level response to be implemented. However it is important to be aware of the 5 different threat levels, which are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack:


LOW                    means an attack is unlikely.

MODERATE        means an attack is possible, but not likely

SUBSTANTIAL    means an attack is a strong possibility

SEVERE                means an attack is highly likely

CRITICAL             means an attack is expected imminently


Terrorists use countless methods of attack, not only explosive devices suspected to have been used at the Manchester arena, but shootings and close quarter attacks, kidnappings, chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) devices and other innovative ways to create fear amongst our society.  However, Nonviolent methods are also regularly used, such as gaining access to specific information that may be useful, or through trying to radicalise an individual in an organisation to provide such information that could assist them with an attack.

You can play your part to help prevent terrorism by being alert to possible suspicious activities such as unusual internet activity, financial transactions, purchasing of certain items that could be used as weapons, or materials that could be used to make explosives, unusual behavior at strange times of the day or night, openly radical comments and views being vocalised, or the people you have known for a while who may start behaving differently from how they have always acted previously.

If you genuinely believe that something is suspicious, use your instinct and inform the police, they will investigate your hunch and you never know you may be providing that vital link to an operation or an arrest that prevents another atrocity.

Remember, you should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and report any suspicious activity, as with any other serious crime.

If you have information about possible terrorist activity, please call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. The Anti-Terrorist Hotline is for tip-offs and confidential information. For warnings about possible bombs or other urgent threats please call 999.



GradEx 2017

This is the third year of the GradEx show and the Forensics, Policing and Criminal Investigation team submitted over sixty entrants. It took three rooms to hold them. They take up 8 pages in the catalogue.

The day began with a visit from the Mayor 


and a welcome from the Grad Ex team, 



then it was on to meet the judges…

It’s not possible to mention all the papers, but highlights include Mia Jane’s Abbott’s work examining the Amnesty Box at music festivals for “legal highs”, Natalie Atkinson’s project on the persistence of bodily fluids after immersion, which will provide evidence in rape trials. Jake Bayliss was also working on persistence of fibres, this time comparing the effects of still water to moving water (in the river Trent) over a six week period. Jessica Crossland looked at the evidential value of tatoos both permanent and temporary and the effect of fire and chemical burning on discolouration.  Josh Hill explored the scatter pattern of microparticles from gunshots, and Tim Mussellwhite explored the small drones by the police and crime investigation authorities.Jessica Wakefield-Baugh revisted Oswiecim (Auschwitz) to remap the charted graves and uncover new ones.

The winners were Elli Savari, MSci Investigation supervised by Laura Walton-Williams and Lance Malcolm, supervised by David Flatman-Fairs.






Overall a fantastic day. Thank you in particular to Laura Walton-Williams and Juliet Prince for all their work.



Research Impact: ‘Effective Strategies to Combat Sexual Violence’

One of the things we all do is to seek to change the world…

Dr Laura Walton-Williams was invited to speak at the Westminster Briefing’s conference, ‘Confronting Sexual Violence: Reducing Offending and Supporting Victims’, which was held in Victoria, London on Wednesday 10th May 2017.  She presented on ‘Effective Strategies to Combat Sexual Violence’ alongside Marcia Bravo, Operations Manager for Victim Support.  Laura’s presentation examined sexual violence prevention strategies, evidence recovery in sexual violence cases, lessons learnt from survivors and strategies for repairing the harm, as well as update on the national picture of historic sex crimes.

Laura presented to an audience of approximately 30 high ranking representatives from Police Forces, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Police and Crime Commissioners Office, City & County Councils and Victim Support Organisations. A report of the proceedings of this meeting will be submitted to Parliament to inform future policies in tackling Sexual Violence.


Also presenting were Kim Doyle & Stephanie Reardon (Joint Chief Executives for Lime Culture CIC), Dr Keiran McCarten (Associate Professor in Criminology, UWE Bristol), Rosalyn Boyce (Why Me? Ambassador & Restorative Justice Advicate) and Ady Lowe (Independent Sexual Violonce Adviser, Victim Support).