One of the biggest crime scene training facilities for students in the UK has been created at Nottingham Trent University.
Forensic science students will use the building – which can be configured to look like a typical house, bar or shop – as part of their practical training.
Housed inside former two-storey student accommodation on the university’s Clifton Campus, it will help to ensure that students are as prepared as possible for work in a variety of forensic and policing roles. The facility can be used to replicate a broad range of scenarios in homes and businesses, including burglaries, assaults, sexual offences, drugs searches and cyber-crime.
As well as spaces seen in a typical home or business venue – kitchen, lounge, bedrooms, garden, shop counter and bar – it includes a room for blood pattern analysis, whereby students can investigate how blood moves under different conditions.
There is also a back garden, in which students can practice ‘body’ recovery work, and a teaching room. A CCTV room with access to 26 cameras – including face-tracking technology – is used to monitor and assess students as they make their way through the facility looking for clues and collecting evidence.
Students assume the role of crime scene examiners and are trained by university experts to develop investigation, collection and analysis techniques.
Forensic science students are trained to identify evidence such as fibres, footwear marks, DNA evidence and digital evidence from mobile devices and laptops. As well as students, the facility will be utilised for training purposes by other external forensic and law enforcement agencies.
The majority of students – based in the university’s School of Science and Technology – go into forensic, policing or research roles.
The development of practical skills is a key theme of the forensic science courses and the university’s facilities support the ‘crime scene to court’ approach to forensic science. The new facility will also be instrumental in the BSc course gaining re-accreditation by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, a quality mark for all Forensic degrees earlier this month.
“I am very excited by this new facility and what it can offer us in terms of teaching our students and being used as a training centre for police and other forensic providers,” said Ms Emma Rixon, principal lecturer in forensic science at Nottingham Trent University.
She said: “I am especially thrilled by the new blood laboratory, as this offers us potential to carry out research and develop further teaching in this area. Being able to configure the facility into a bar or shop is very important as there can be particular forensic challenges with business venues which you perhaps wouldn’t get with domestic ones.
“The improved CCTV is also fantastic and we can’t wait to put it into use.”
The new facility replaces the smaller crime scene house on the campus.