What is Forensic Science?

Forensic Science is any science used for the purposes of the law, and therefore provides impartial scientific evidence for use in the courts of law, e.g. in a criminal investigation and trial. In a typical criminal investigation Crime Scene Investigators (CSI), sometimes known as Scenes Of Crime Officers (SOCO’s), will gather material evidence from the crime scene, victim and/or suspect, looking for physical traces which might be useful in placing someone at the scene of a crime.  Such traces commonly include blood and other body fluids, hairs, textile fibres from clothing, materials used in building such as paint and glass, footwear, tool and tyre marks, flammable substances used to start fires etc.  Normally (but not always) these members of staff do not have a degree before they are trained by the organisation that employs them. Many work up to a degree after some years of work but it is not essential for these roles.


A Forensic Scientist is a person who usually works in a forensic laboratory having gained a degree in a science from a UK higher education establishment.  Sometimes the scientist will visit the scene to advise about a likely sequence of events, any indicators as to who the offender might be, and to join in the initial search for evidence but this is rare.  Forensic scientists analyse suspected drugs of abuse, specimens from people thought to have taken them or to have been driving after drinking too much alcohol, or who have been poisoned.  And others specialise in firearms, explosives, or documents whose authenticity is questioned.

A Forensic Scientist is regarded as an expert in their field while a CSI or Fingerprint Expert is known as a professional. The professionals do not always require a higher education degree to get their role but all are equally important in the criminal justice system. The forensic scientist usually specialise in one or more of the key forensic disciplines. They all may be required to attend and give evidence in court as impartial expert or professional witnesses. A professional witness describes actions, observations and items recovered while an expert is allowed to offer his or her opinion on how actions happened, or how items were made/got to the scene etc.

Why Study Forensic Science?

Forensic science is a subject that fascinates most of us. What makes forensic science so exciting to study is the nature of the problems to be solved, and this provides its own intrinsic rewards. Great emphasis is placed, not only on developing the skills of forensic examination, but also on their application and on the communication of findings to the lay-person.

Forensic science is a rigorous scientific discipline, and as such its graduates are highly employable individuals possessing the knowledge and skills for both subject-related employment, such as in a forensic laboratory, or non-subject-related employment in a wider range of careers.

Forensic science is a high-profile subject in the UK. It has received a lot of new investment for expansion since the well-publicised miscarriages of justice in the 1970s. As a result, scientific liaison officers have been appointed by the police service and the knowledge and communication gap between the scientists and the police at a crime scene has narrowed. Forensic skills are used in a wide range of professions and industries; for instance, at disaster scenes, within archaeology and in the food and pharmaceutical industries, so there are many different areas in which someone who studies forensic science can focus a career. However, the majority of crime scene investigators in the United Kingdom are employed by specific police forces, while the majority of forensic scientists work for private companies which specialise in providing primary forensic science services to the police.  Aside from these, there are a number of other organisations which focus on specific areas of forensic science such as fire investigation, questioned documents and digital forensics.

Experience day

If a career in forensic science sounds intriguing and you would like a taster day, then Complete Forensics have CSI experience days available for the general public. This is your chance to prove that you’ve got what it takes to find the evidence and secure the conviction.

Looking for fine detail is just part of the story and you must piece it all together. Learning how to find and develop fingerprints, analysing fibre and examining paint under the microscope are just some of the activities you will be involved in. With your own crime scene to examine, you can be sure that under the guidance of our experienced experts, you will learn the tricks to help you solve the crime.

You can choose your own dates from date of booking (within twelve months) at a cost of only £79 per person.  All events take place in our facility in Mossley, which is 100m away from the train station at Mossley (Mcr).

For more information or to book please take a look at our website.

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