Forensic & Criminal Investigation students from Solihull College & University Centre tested their investigative skills recently as part of Blossomfield Campus transformed into a staged crime scene.
The College hosted a team of investigators from West Midlands Police who helped build the scene to mimic a real-life scenario. Level 3 students donned anti-contamination clothing and were met with a staged situation where a dog walker had discovered human remains and it was up to them to forensically examine the evidence. A mannequin victim, gun casings, DNA evidence and more were scattered around the crime scene.
Students were advised how investigators would assess a scene and gather evidence and what conclusions could be pinpointed as a result. After analysing the scene, students had a debrief with the police to discuss their findings. Multiple groups were able to experience the scenario throughout the day.
Andy Price and Paul Tebbitt, who oversee complex crime for West Midlands Police, joined students. Lead Crime Scene Co-ordinator Andy, who has over thirty years of crime scene experience, was impressed with the enthusiasm of students. He commented: “We really appreciate Solihull College & University Centre asking us to be part of this experience with their students who are studying Forensic & Criminal Investigation. To be able to help and inspire the next generation of forensic experts is something that we are always happy to be part of. Being a forensic expert means that you will always have to keep up with new technological and forensic advances. In my field of expertise I’ve always been supported to continue to learn and it’s really great to see the incredible enthusiasm of the young people who are on their first steps to such an interesting and rewarding career.”
Students Freya East, 19, and James Crouch, 16, found the experience especially useful. Freya, who hopes to go on to study psychology and rehabilitation of offenders, commented: “The mock crime scene made us think big and really consider how everything fits together. This made the scenario seem more real. We were able to think on our feet instead of from our chairs.”
James, who hopes to work in a forensic lab in the future agrees, adding: “I had to consider evidence from every area. This helped me zero in on each piece of individual evidence rather than think too broadly.”
The course also benefits from expertise across different college areas. One of the units focuses on forensic photography with input from the College’s photography department.
Andrew Schneider, Head of School for Science, comments: “This innovative course is an excellent example of a modern approach to post-16 education. It combines the benefits of traditional academic study with an application of these concepts in real-life situations. The attendance by industry crime experts to our campus offered the students a unique experience which we would like to thank the Police for. With the high level of commitment shown by all the students on this programme, they will be well placed to stand out in future university-level study and in their future careers.”