Students Praised for their Efforts

By Martyn Hordern,

Staffordshire Police Assistant Chief Constable has praised the work of Staffordshire University students who completed summer placements with the force Forensic department.

Five students took part in the 6-week placements which are a feature of Staffordshire Forensic Partnership – a long standing partnership between Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire University to push the boundaries of forensic science in the county.

The students undertook four projects which included researching the best ways to retrieve data from instant messaging apps and methods for retrieving DNA from a car steering wheel. At the culmination of their placement, they presented their findings to police and university staff at Staffordshire Police Headquarters.

ACC Jennie Mattinson said: “What particularly impressed me was how well they connected in with our forensics department from an operational perspective and how all the students have really thought about the operation impacts of their research and how it can change our practices within forensics.”

“That’s what is really important because we can be much more efficient and effective at what we deliver, enabling us to detect more crime or provide that better service to the public which is what it’s all about.”

Two of the projects focused more broadly on forensic awareness. One, undertaken by Integrated Masters student Sarah Hartley involved creating simple guidance around forensic packaging.

Sarah Hartley, MSci Forensic Investigation student said, “I was working with the Forensics Submissions team to create a pictorial guide for staff and prison officer and anyone who might need it.

“It’s basically guidance to explain step by step what they need to do when packaging exhibits so that any issues with sealing or incorrect packaging would be eliminated before it got to the Submissions team.”

Sarah said the placement had given her valuable insights, adding: “It really opened my eyes to the different roles I could go into after uni.”

SFP co-ordinator Martyn Hordern added: “This was the first time students have been able to present their work in this way since 2019 due to COVID. All four presentations raised lots of interest and questions and it was clear from the students’ feedback that the placements were really useful in terms of working with the police and giving them an idea of the jobs and careers available. We’re grateful to all those who supported the students on their placements and wish the students all the best for the future.”

Listen to what the Police and the students had to say about the placements.