A crime scene analyst (CSA), also known as a crime scene investigator or forensic science technician, supports police detectives or other law enforcement investigative teams by locating, collecting, and processing evidence.
It would be your responsibility as a Crime Scene Investigator to:
- Respond to calls from police officers.
- Take charge of crime scenes.
- Establish what evidence is required from incident scenes and how best to obtain it.
- Take, develop and print photographs of the scene.
- Gather forensic evidence such as samples of blood, hair, footprints, tyre marks etc, using appropriate scientific techniques.
- Obtain impressions of fingerprints from prisoners, dead bodies or from people who may have accessed the crime scene.
- Place evidence into protective packaging and sending it away for forensic analysis.
- Preserve crime scenes against contamination.
- Compile written reports.
- Give and defend evidence in court.
The skills required for this role include:
- Able to cope well with pressure.
- Able to deal with witnessing upsetting scenes.
- A logical and enquiring mind.
- Meticulous attention to detail.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills.
- Good teamworking and problem solving abilities.
- Good people skills.
CSAs frequently work overtime or irregular hours in order to maintain chain-of-custody preservation if a shift change occurs when a scene is still being processed.
A degree in sciences or policing is beneficial. Good photographic ability is important and a qualification in photography can prove advantageous.
Entrance requirements vary between individual forces. Many employers will also ask that you have relevant work experience in policing or a related sector. Accurate colour vision and physical fitness are essential. A driving licence is also preferred.
You’ll usually work shifts and be part of an on-call rota. The job can be physically demanding and involve working at height, in confined spaces, and being outdoors in all weather conditions.
You’ll spend most of your time out on investigations, but will also write up reports, process recovered evidence and prepare statements at a police station.
According to the National Careers Service, a scene of crime officer can expect to earn:
- Starter: £16,000
- Experienced: £18,000 to £27,000
- Highly Experienced: £28,000 to £35,000
Some of the largest UK police forces employ in excess of 70 scene of crime officers each. (Target Jobs)