Former Forensic Investigation Student appointed Crime Scene Manager.

Craig Ratcliffe graduated with an MSCi in Forensic Investigation in 2015 from the School of Law Policing and Forensics.

At the end of his degree year in 2014 he was selected to undertake a 6 week placement with Staffordshire Police through the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership. During his placement he worked on a joint project entitled The Use of Immersive Digital Technologies for Police and Forensic Services in 21st Century.

It is what we would now call Virtual Reality and was clearly ahead of its time, as it is really only in the last couple of years that police forces have started to seriously look at VR as a means of delivering realistic practical training for officers and staff.

Craig’s first role after graduation was with West Mercia Police working as Digital Forensic Investigator which saw him capturing CCTV from both residential and commercial crime scenes. A year later he joined Staffordshire Police as a Digital Forensic Investigator which involved recovering CCTV evidence and attending and taking photographs at post mortems to assist police, the coroner and where required the court.

In 2017 he was appointed a Forensic Investigator (CSI) within Staffordshire realising a long held ambition.

His role was and is to attend (mainly) volume crime scenes to recover forensic evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, and footwear impressions. Craig attributes his degree and experience from Staffordshire University as giving him the basic skills and confidence to start a career in the police.

Earlier this year after some four years experience as a Forensic Investigator, Craig was appointed a Crime Scene Manager within Staffordshire Police. He is the youngest person in the force to hold the position. Whilst he remains an FI on a day-to-day basis, when it comes to major or complex crime scenes the role sees Craig directing and tasking other Forensic Investigators to carry out scene actions relating to the incident they are dealing with. The CSM also creates a scene and crime specific forensic strategy to ensure that best evidence is preserved.

The role is also a liaison one, linking in with Senior Investigating Officers, attending briefings and working with the Forensic Coordinator to ensure that the correct resources are available.

Craig is also using his experience to help develop the next generation of forensic specialists studying at Staffordshire University as he has joined the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership as a work stream lead. He hopes to be able to attend lectures and mentor students undertaking a placement project very much as he did in 2014.

Here is Craig speaking in 2019 of his student experience with the SFP at the 3rd year celebrations of the partnership.



Policing and Forensics – Careers and Employability Event a Great Success

Wednesday 10th February saw around 70 students joining academics, alumni, police professionals and university careers staff on MS Teams to raise awareness and better equip students for applying for roles in policing and the wider forensics jobs market.

The event was borne out of conversations with police specialists who felt that former students applying for roles within Police Forensics weren’t giving themselves the best chance of being selected for interview.

The event was organised by Dean Northfield, the School of Law, Policing and Forensics Placement Coordinator, and Martyn Hordern, the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership Coordinator, with initial discussions taking place last autumn before the current lockdown.

Undeterred, an MS Team’s event was arranged and speakers were gathered to assist in as many ways as possible. The event saw two former students giving their thoughts on police and private role applications, a former Police Assistant Chief Constable demystifying the police application form and a current police Digital Forensic Coordinator giving his guidance and advice. Also present were police recruitment specialists, and specialists from the Institute of Policing and the University Careers Relationship team, supported by a student Careers Coach.

Vicky Cook from the University’s Careers Relationship team talked about students’ online presence and said “if you wouldn’t want your gran to see it don’t put it online”, emphasising that prospective employers will check what potential employees are doing online.

Former students Becky Teague and Kira Low gave their experiences as graduates from 2020. Becky had also been a police Special Constable and was now working with a private digital forensics company. Kira meanwhile works for Norfolk Constabulary in their Digital Forensics Unit. Both gave some insightful advice from the differing application processes used to prepare yourself whilst still at University.

Ian Ackerley, Course Leader for Policing and Criminal Investigation and a former Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) with Staffordshire Police, shared some helpful tips and advice on how to turn a good application into a very good one, whilst at the same time preventing a very good application becoming just an adequate one.

Adam Newbery from Staffordshire Police’s Digital Forensics Unit gave some insight into finding Police roles, preparing yourself, having a career plan and how to sell yourself in the application form.

The day concluded with Dionne Johnson (from the Staffordshire Police’s Recruiting Team) sharing police career advice, including the STEP IN process to assist potential applicants, and Bethany Hepher from the Institute of Policing, who talked about the PCDA and DHEP (Police Apprenticeship) routes into being a Police Officer.

Martyn Hordern said “I am sure that each and everyone of [our guests] will have helped those on the call to be better prepared to apply for and hopefully get roles within forensics, policing, or similar”.

Dean Northfield said after the event, “we are really passionate about employability skills and it was refreshing that so many common themes went through each presentation”. He added that it was hoped for such an event to become a fixture going forward.



Staffs Uni Wins ‘Best Collaboration between a University and Employer’ Award with Staffs Police

Friday evening at the National Undergraduate Employability Awards (NUE),in collaboration with Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire University won the award for ‘Best Collaboration between a University and Employer’ for the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership

Dr John Wheeler, The Associate Dean of Students for the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, said “this is a fantastic achievement and a great recognition of the innovative and excellent work that is undertaken between Staffordshire University and its partners.  Everyone who has played a part in the partnership should rightly be very proud of their achievements.”

The Forensic Parternship goes back to 2009 when John Beckwith, Head of Forensics at Staffordshire Police, and Andrew Jackson, then Head of Forensic and Crime Science at the University came up with the plan. The partnership was formally launched in 2016 and this year sees the third anniversary of this.

“Since then, many students, both in traditional and digital forensics have undertaken placements and project work, numerous research questions have been explored and answered, and a phenomenal relationship has developed between our two organisations. Many people have made significant and telling contributions to the Partnership over the years and have made it into the award winning success it is today.”

“I would like to express my personal thanks and gratitude to everyone who has been involved in the Partnership over the years, including colleagues at Staffordshire Police who have been incredibly innovative in their thinking and receptive to breaking down barriers in forensics and policing.  I am extremely proud to have played my part in the Partnership, but it has been, and continues to be, a huge team effort and it is a privilege to work with you all.”

Shortlisted for NUE ‘Best Collaboration Between a University and Employer Award

Staffordshire University has successfully been shortlisted as one of the top five in the Best Collaboration Between a University and Employer Award at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards.

The nomination is based on the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership Staffordshire University has with Staffordshire Police.

All nominations will be presented to their independent judging panel who will review all of the candidates.

The winner will then be announced at the Awards Ceremony in London on Friday 1st March 2019.