modmax Hi everyone, welcome to your live Chat 🙂 I’m your moderator today. I’m here to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Jo Hi everyone!
modmax @Jo Morning Jo! how are you doing?
ReneeTR16 Hi Jo!
DanielMR16 @Jo hi how are you
Jo Looking forward to chatting with you all this morning 🙂
BaileyWR16 @Jo have you ever found the weapon while investigating a crime scene?
Jo @BaileyWR16: Unfortunately yes – sometimes it could be knife/baseball bat or sometimes a piece of glass.
GraceCR16 @Jo Hi have you ever not solved a scene case
Jo @GraceCR16: Sometimes we struggle to find evidence to identify an offender, which is sad. I’ve been to some burglary scenes where that has happened 🙁
ReillyNR16 @Katy What are you working on now
Katy @ReillyNR16: Hello Reilly! My research is based on trying to find out the best way of analysing makeup traces that might be found at a crime scene 🙂
GeorgiaGR16 @Katy How long does it take for the dna from the makeup to come back ?
Katy @GeorgiaGR16: Ah, you’re right, we can get DNA evidence from makeup stains but that’s not what I’m looking at. I’m looking at the physical appearance of the makeup stains and their chemical compositions using different analytical techniques in the lab 🙂
Lorna @Katy: we have had a couple of cases where make up was on an object and we used IR, GC-MS and SEN EDXA to characterise the stains. Need good reference material also to compare likelihood of coming from which makeup source.
RiaCR16 @Lorna Why did you choose this job??
Lorna @RiaCR16: because I’m a soil scientist applying that science within the criminal justice system. Help searching for missing people and trace evidence in court.
Lorna @RiaCR16: the job chose me!!
GraceCR16 @Katy Is your job hard?
Katy @GraceCR16: It can be! The instruments I use can take a bit of getting used to and the data analysis I need to do afterwards is super tricky (probably because I’m not very good at maths!) but I enjoy what I do soooo much!
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SofiaCR16 @all What is the most interesting part of your job ?
Jo @SofiaCR16: I love that i learn something new every day – it’s never boring!
Sue @SofiaCR16: For me it is the fact that no two days, and no two cases, are ever the same.
Katy @SofiaCR16: Discovery…finding things out!
Katy Hello everyone! So pleased to be here 🙂
JaidynWR16 @Katy: what is your favourite part about your job
Katy @JaidynWR16: Finding things out, discovery, and getting to see amazing images under the different microscopes 🤩. I also love teaching and giving presentations, even if I can be a little overenthusiastic at times!
AbbieMR16 @Jo What is your favourite part about your job?
Jo @AbbieMR16: Meeting lots of nice people who have been victims of crime and helping them
ReneeTR16 @all What do you like about your job?
Katy @ReneeTR16: That I’m doing something which might help victims of crime in the future 🙂
Katy @ReneeTR16: And that I get to play with makeup 😜
OrlaMR16 @all Is it interesting working on a crime scene?Why?
Sue @OrlaMR16: It is but we have to be very structured in the way we interact both with the scene and with the other team members. It is a well choreographed ballet.
Jo @OrlaMR16: No two scenes are the same, which makes it really interesting 🙂
GeorgiaGR16 @all How long have you been doing your jobs for and what subjects do you need to become what yous are ?
Sue @GeorgiaGR16: I did my first forensic case in 1984. I was studying for my PhD at the time in human anatomy.
Katy @GeorgiaGR16: I started studying forensics in 2005 and have nearly finished!
ReillyNR16 @Jo do you ever get scared doing your job
Sue @ReillyNR16: I don’t. We are very well protected even when we are working in war zones.
Jo @ReillyNR16: Only a couple of times, where i’ve been to see a victim of a crime and they’ve been very aggressive
DanielMR16 @Jo how do you go into investigations do go in fast or slow I don’t know
Jo @DanielMR16: We usually try to take our time, as we only have one chance at getting evidence. However, sometimes we need to be quicker if it’s raining and the crime scene is outside!
RiaCR16 @Katy why do you figure out makeup?
Katy @RiaCR16: Because I think it has the potential to be a really useful form of associative trace evidence – it can show physical contact between people and/or scenes/objects 🙂
ColeSR16 @all How did you get your job?
Katy @ColeSR16: I did a degree in forensics first then got accepted to do a PhD 🙂
ReneeTR16 @all Did you always want to do this job?
Sue @ReneeTR16: I always wanted to do something in biology. Then I knew when I started in anatomy that was right for me. Then my first case confirmed my path. So it was gradual.
Katy @ReneeTR16: No! To be honest, until I started uni I hadn’t really heard about it (you have to remember I’m quite old!) 😉
SekinahR16 @all What type of material or device are used to find out whose commuted a crime
Jo @SekinahR16: We use lots of different ways, such as fingerprints, DNA, Fibres, Shoeprints… the list goes on for a long time!
Katy @SekinahR16: As Jo says, the list can be endless! Lots of different techniques are used by the CSIs at a scene but then when the evidence is submitted to the lab afterwards there are even more techniques to choose from!
SekinahR16 @Katy: what does the acronym CSIs stand for
Katy @SekinahR16: Oh sorry! Crime scene investigators 🙂
GraceCR16 @Katy what subjects did you take for your job
Katy @GraceCR16: A degree in forensic science 🙂
LucasMR16 @Jo what’s the biggest crime scene you’ve ever been on?
Jo @LucasMR16: The biggest in terms of size was a fire of a warehouse, which was massive! The biggest in terms of high profile has been murder cases
GeorgiaGR16 @Katy how long does it take for the dna from makeup etc from crime scenes to come back ?
Katy @GeorgiaGR16: I’m not sure how long a DNA profile takes these days as I don’t work in that field. I’m sure technology has come on a long way since I studied my degree!!
AbbieMR16 @Lorna What is your least favourite thing bout your job?
Lorna @AbbieMR16: the freezing cold it pouring rain in the middle of the winter. Or in the summer eaten alive by midges.
OrlaithBR16 @Lorna Have you ever been doing a case for a long time?
Lorna @OrlaithBR16: yes I’m still working on a few cases where we are still looking for the buried body. Hopefully one day.
OrlaithBR16 @Lorna: what’s the shortest case you have done?
Lorna @OrlaithBR16: shortest would be a month where we showed someone had been at a Debs, then they admitted it based on the evidence.
JaidynWR16 @all if u have any job would yous still keep this job
Lorna @JaidynWR16: yes I love my job, always worthwhile!
Sue @JaidynWR16: Yes. I love what I do.
Katy @JaidynWR16: Definitely!! 🙂
OliviaBR16 @Katy @Jo What’s the best part about your job
Katy @OliviaBR16: Finding out new things and getting to teach forensic students 🙂
BaileyWR16 @Katy have you ever found any important points of evidence I’m the makeup?
Katy @BaileyWR16: Yes! Every time I use a new technique to look at my samples I find out new things 🙂 one of the main ways to tell the difference between makeup samples is by using a technique called Raman spectroscopy to look at the mineral content. Some minerals like titanium dioxide come in different versions but you can’t tell which one just by looking at it. Raman knows! 😉
OrlaMR16 @all Is it interesting working on a crime scene?Why?
Lorna @OrlaMR16: always different and always interesting.
RiaCR16 @Sue how easy is your job ? or is it hard??
Lorna @RiaCR16: always interesting. But takes much longer than you’d think by watching Silent Witness!
Sue @RiaCR16: It takes a lot of time to be confident. So it was 7 years studying at university and then at least another 5 before I was confident to lead on a case.
CarysMR16 @Lorna did you ever find a dead body that was still alive?
Lorna @CarysMR16: well that would be amazing!! We always hope that a person will be found alive. Hope and pray. If there a chance time is so important to find someone in the folder 24 hrs h to et are missing.
GeorgiaGR16 @Sue how fun is your job and what do you enjoy most about it ?
Sue @GeorgiaGR16: It isn’t fun because it is hugely serious but what I enjoy most is the fact that we can make a difference.
LennonKayR16dummy @Sue Have you ever found a weapon investigating
Sue @LennonKayR16dummy: Frequently. It may be a sharp object such as a knife, it may be blunt object such as a cricket bat or it may be ballistics in relation to a gun death.
SophieYR16 @Jo did you enjoy being a crime scene investigator and why?
Jo @SophieYR16: I loved it, as every day was different and i would get to meet lots of nice people and try to help them.
GraceCR16 @Sue do you work in a team or do you work alone
Sue @GraceCR16: Always in a team. Sometimes it is just 2 of your (in Scotland we have something called collaboration) but frequently it can be in a team of 20 or more.
ColeSR16 @all How long have you been doing your job?
Lorna @ColeSR16: about 20 years, never a dull moment either
CarysMR16 @Sue what colour is your blood after you die?
Sue @CarysMR16: Depends how long after death you are looking. So if it is still liquid then it is a dark red but with advancing time it becomes more brown.
DanielMR16 @Jo did you want to be anything ales when you where young or did you just know this was the job for you
Jo @DanielMR16: I always wanted to be a detective and find clues! It wasn’t until i was older that i realised that this was the job of a CSI and not a detective..
KaydenMR16 @Jo do you like your job?
Jo @KaydenMR16: I love it!
OrlaithBR16 @Kate how long have you been doing your job
Kate @OrlaithBR16: I have been doing my job for 12 years
CharlotteFR16 @Jo what kind of things did you do as a crime scene investigator?
Jo @CharlotteFR16: We would attend the crime scene and try to recover as much evidence as possible, such as fingerprints, DNA, Shoeprints, etc.
DarceyKR16 @Kate Did you have to study Certain things in school like subjects?
Kate @DarceyKR16: I studied lots of subjects in school and enjoyed them all.
LucasMR16 @all wh6 did you pick your job?
Sue @LucasMR16: I moved into it slowly but mainly because I loved studying human anatomy.
Lorna @LucasMR16: it was a natural evolution alloying my science to really carry our science with impact!
Kate @LucasMR16: It took me a while to find this job but once I found it I knew that was what I wanted to do because I found it fascinating
OliviaBR16 @all @Kate what’s the mostly interesting thing that has happened to you In your job
Kate @OliviaBR16: my job involves me doing lots of different things – I teach, I do experiments, I train crime scene investigators how to collect insects from a crime scene and I help local Environmental Officers find out where nuisance flies are coming from and how to stop them. I find all these parts interesting.
GraceCR16 @Lorna do you often work in a team or do you work alone
Lorna @GraceCR16: Forensic work is always as part of a team. The main place you are on your own us when you stand in court as an expert witness.
Lorna @GraceCR16: most case work is team work, with effective communication vitally important. The place you are alone is giving evidence in court.
CarysMR16 @Katy what is the most gruesome thing you have saw in your job?
Katy @CarysMR16: I don’t really see gruesome things in my research – all my samples are pretty and some are even sparkly! I’ve seen some gruesome images during my studies and in my teaching materials though…
SekinahR16 @all How long does it take to investigate a crime
Sue @SekinahR16: Sometimes hours and sometimes days – it depends on the scene.
Jo @SekinahR16: From start to finish it could be days, weeks, months or even years!
Lorna @SekinahR16: it can take months to several years. Some are ongoing until it is solved.
JaidynWR16 @Jo how long did it take to get your degree
Jo @JaidynWR16: My first degree was 3yrs (which is what you would need for a CSI job), but i then did an MSc for 3 years (part time) and a PhD for 6 years (part time)
RiaCR16 @Kate what is a entomologist?
Kate @RiaCR16: an entomologist is someone who studies insects.
SophiaPR16 @all What is you pr favourite part of your job and why?
Lorna @SophiaPR16: waiting for final results to see if we get a match or an exclusion.
mre16 @all Thank you for taking time to answer our class questions.
Lorna @mre16: you are most welcome. You are the next generation of budding forensic scientists. Remember there are many ways to working Forensics- CSIs, Biologists, chemists, soil scientists, entomologists, anthropologists, pathologists, etc etc
Sue @mre16: You are so very welcome. Thank you all for asking the questions.
MarcusSR16 @Sue how long does it take to identify who it was?
Sue @MarcusSR16: Sometimes it is very swift if we find circumstantial evidence e.g. credit cards, or it can take years and in some cases we never manage to unit the body back to its identity.
CarysMR16 @Jo Is it only murders you work in or like break ins and car stealing?
Jo @CarysMR16: All crimes – from burglaries and cars through to murders
Lorna @CarysMR16: I’m mainly murders, rapes and the iccasijj of nap wilife crime case such as badger baiting or false claims of treasure trove.
RiaCR16 @Katy do you like your job?!
Katy @RiaCR16: Absolutely! I love it and can highly recommend! 😉
RiaCR16 @Katy: -thanks
SofiaCR16 @all What piece/pieces of advice would you give to people who want to become a forensic scientist?
Sue @SofiaCR16: Become a good scientist first of all and then if you are still interested in taking that science into the courtroom, think about specialising.
Lorna @SofiaCR16: learn about all the sciences, a bit about the legal process and also communication skills. Stick in!!
OrlaithBR16 @Katy is your job fun and if it is what is the most fun thing you have done in your job
Katy @OrlaithBR16: I think so, yes! Probably the most fun I’ve had is doing outreach (so not related directly to my research or teaching). I get to play with the CSI stuff with school children all day long! Who wouldn’t love that?!
OrlaithBR16 @Katy: what’s the worst thing about your job?
Katy @OrlaithBR16: Lack of time, funding and resources 🙁
OliviaBR16 @all was this job your dream job when you where younger?
Kate @OliviaBR16: I had lots of dream jobs when I was younger (Vet, Nurse, Paramedic, Doctor) but I didn’t know this job existed until I was much older
DanielMR16 @Sue how hard is your job
Sue @DanielMR16: I am at my desk by 7am and frequently responding to emails at 7pm. We work weekends when needed and sometimes I have been known to pull an all-nighter when a case demands. It is hard work.
GraceCR16 @Sue do you like working in a team or doing your job by yourself
Sue @GraceCR16: Very perceptive question Grace. I prefer being in a team as the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else is invaluable. And it is tremendous support.
DarceyKR16 @Jo Do you have to wear certain things in your uniform?
Jo @DarceyKR16: CSIs generally wear a police t-shirt, trousers and a fleece on a daily basis, but would have to put on a white suit for serious crimes
SophieYR16 @all how long does it take to investigate a crime scene?
Jo @SophieYR16: Sometimes you’re all done in an hour, but sometimes (for serious crimes) we would need to spend weeks there
FaithAR16 @all What’s the most scariest thing you’ve ever seen
Lorna @FaithAR16: worse was a little boy who had been murdered and he was same age in same pyjamas as my son. For a moment I thought it was him.
CarysMR16 @Sue what university did you go to?
Sue @CarysMR16: Both my undergraduate and PhD were at Aberdeen University.
MarcusSR16 @Sue do you always figure out who it was?
Sue @MarcusSR16: No and those are the challenging cases either where we know there is a body and we can’t find it, or we have a body but we don’t know who they are.
JaidynWR16 @Sue how long have u been doing your job
Sue @JaidynWR16: My first case was in 1986 – I am very old!
GraceCR16 @Kate do you like your job
Kate @GraceCR16: Yes, it is interesting because I do lots of different things in it – I teach, I do experiments, I teach the Police how to collect insects from a crime scene and I go out to scenes where I can help with flies causing problems
DanielMR16 @Katy how hard is your job
Katy @DanielMR16: Not going to lie, it’s tricky! Especially the statistics and data analysis! But it
Katy @DanielMR16: It’s super worth it 🙂
ReillyNR16 @Jo Have you ever felt 🤢 sick doing a job
Jo @ReillyNR16: Yep! I’ve never actually been sick or fainted but have been very close to it on two occasions!
ReneeTR16 @all Would you change anything about your job?
Sue @ReneeTR16: Less paperwork and less time wasting in the legal system.
Lorna @ReneeTR16: yes sick to see what one human can do to another. That’s so sad.
Lorna @ReneeTR16: less red tape and more resources.
CarysMR16 @Jo what is the most famous case you have worked on?
Jo @CarysMR16: The most famous case would be the Soham murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002
OrlaMR16 @Katy What is useful about figuring out traces of makeup
Katy @OrlaMR16: Nice question! Well there are a few answers to this…firstly it’s under researched and underused and I believe undervalued in CSI (I’ll probably make myself unpopular saying that!) so it gives us a unique opportunity to switch up the things we look for at a scene…
Katy @OrlaMR16: criminals are getting wise to fingermarks and DNA but I doubt many will have considered cosmetic microtraces 😉
Katy @OrlaMR16: Secondly it’s useful to generate leads where fingerprint and DNA databases have not given any matches 🙂
OliviaBR16 @all What’s the scariest thing that has happened in your job ?
Lorna @OliviaBR16: once at a crime scene taking samples and I was whisked away by the off in vets as they had a tip off the gang had sent shooters to get us. Scary.
AbbieMR16 @Kate What made you choose this job?
Kate @AbbieMR16: I was amazed by how much you could tell from a maggot!
LennonKayR16dummy @Sue Have you ever been scared doing you’re job
Sue @LennonKayR16dummy: No but you do have to be careful.
CarysMR16 @Kate what colour is your skin after you die?
Kate @CarysMR16: it changes colour the longer you have been dead. It starts off the same colour it was when you were alive and then becomes green, blue, black in places.
ColeSR16 @Jo When did you swap from being a crime scene investigator?
Jo @ColeSR16: I changed jobs in 2008, although i still spend time with CSIs now to make sure that my knowledge is up to date at all times
GeorgiaGR16 @Kate @Jo @Sue @Katy @Lorna @all what subjects do you need to take in high school or university to become what yous are ?
Kate @GeorgiaGR16: I did Biology and Chemistry at A-level which is usually what you need to get into a forensic science course at university
Lorna @GeorgiaGR16: it depends what type of forensic scientist you want to be…,,there’s lots – anthropologist, archaeologist, soil scientist, geologist, CSI, biologist, chemist, etc etc
Lorna @Lorna: but to study FS at uni it’s good to have biology snd chemistry
SophiaPR16 @Katy What is your favourite peice of equipment to work with ?
Katy @SophiaPR16: Our new comparison microscope! It’s got sooo many different functions, huge magnification and gives the most detailed incredible images! 🤩
OrlaMR16 @all The things that you see, are they upsetting, are they frightening?
Sue @OrlaMR16: The can be upsetting but we are trained to be impartial scientists as we can’t become involved.
Lorna @OrlaMR16: can he if you get sworn away as a gang attacks a crime scene.
Lorna @OrlaMR16: you try to stay focussed on
Lorna @OrlaMR16: You try to focus on the scientific question. Not the humsn isdyse, at least until after the case has gone to court. We have to stay impartial, unbiased, objective etc
OliviaBR16 @Lorna @all @Katy what’s the best part of your job
Lorna @OliviaBR16: satisfaction we have done all we can to help the investigation.
DarceyKR16 @Sue do you ever get disgusted by doing things in your job ?
Sue @DarceyKR16: No – it is my job. I have a very strong stomach.
RiaCR16 @all what uni or college did you all go to:)?
Kate @RiaCR16: I studied at the University of Exeter then the University of Lincoln and now I work at the University of Derby
CarysMR16 @all what is your favourite case you have worked on?
Sue @CarysMR16: The war crimes investigations in Kosovo were career and life changing.
MarcusSR16 @Jo when you where a crime scene investigator was it a dangerous job?
Jo @MarcusSR16: Not usually, but we always need to be careful around biological fluids such as blood in case the person had any diseases that we might catch
SekinahR16 @all what did you have to study in university for your job
Sue @SekinahR16: I studied chemistry, soil science, botany, zoology, psychology and human anatomy.
LucasMR16 @Jo how many weapons have you seen on one crime scene
Jo @LucasMR16: Not too many, usually just 1 or 2
GraceCR16 @Sue do you have to travel a lot to do your job
Sue @GraceCR16: Sometimes. It may be a local case or it may be part of an international investigation.
FaithAR16 @Katy what dose this job mean to you
Katy @FaithAR16: I’m passionate about my subject and I believe that forensic research is vital to ensure the quality and integrity of our criminal justice system 🙂
JaidynWR16 @Jo have you ever touch the evidence
Jo @JaidynWR16: Most of the time we need to touch it in order to recover it, but i always make sure that i am doing it correctly!
DanielMR16 @all did any of yous when yous where young or did you know this is your job
Lorna @DanielMR16: not when I was under 30, was only after that.
RiaCR16 @all have you all ever got emotional while looking at crime scenes?
Sue @RiaCR16: No. I think it important to be an impartial and detached scientist.
Lorna @RiaCR16: we have to be impartial and objective to do our work. Trying to stay removed from the personal tragedy.
BaileyWR16 @Jo How many years did it take for you to become a crime investigator?
Jo @BaileyWR16: When you get the job with the Police you need to undergo training, which takes some time, but within a year you are usually ready to complete scenes on your own
ReillyNR16 @Katy Have you ever felt sorry for the person that died
Katy @ReillyNR16: I feel sorry for anyone who dies but I don’t actually work on crime scenes and I’m not a practising forensic scientist or expert witness, just a researcher!
ReillyNR16 @Katy: what are you Researching right now
SophiaPR16 @Lorna @Sue @Katy What is your favourite peice of equipment to work with ?
Sue @SophiaPR16: You can’t go far without a trowel.
Katy @SophiaPR16: Our new comparison microscope!
Lorna @SophiaPR16: a microscope. It’s amazing what we can see that has linked a questioned item to a scene- plastic, fibres, spheres, skin, as well as the soil itself!
DanielMR16 @Jo How long is one investigation on average?
Jo @DanielMR16: The overall investigation usually takes weeks, but the examination of the scene is usually about an hr for burglaries etc
GraceCR16 @Kate do you have to travel to do your job
Kate @GraceCR16: I have to travel to the university where I work to teach and to do experiments and have meetings but it is only a 10 minute walk for me so I’m lucky! I work from home a lot too but sometimes I travel to different places to try and help with problems caused by flies. I also travel to our local Police headquarters to deliver training. Sometimes I am lucky and go to give talks at conferences and have been to America, China, Sweden, France and Italy with my job. I’ve been to lots of places in the UK too. Tomorrow I am going to Wales to talk at a conference
MarcusSR16 @Katy do you look for dna in the makeup?
Katy @MarcusSR16: No I don’t but it would likely be there! This would be the job of a DNA analyst – my biology knowledge isn’t good enough to be one!!
GeorgiaGR16 @all what is the most challenging things about your job ?
Lorna @GeorgiaGR16: working with tiny traces at the lower end of what can be analysed. Challenging but also worthwhile.
SophiaPR16 @all @Kate @Jo @Sue @Lorna @Katy What is you favourite and least favourite thing about your job
Kate @SophiaPR16: I like that I do lots of different things in my job and I like working with crime scene investigators and environmental officers. I don’t like marking!
OrlaithBR16 @Lorna did you always want to be a forensic soil scientist?
Lorna @OrlaithBR16: I first trained as a soil scientist, then did the forensic training on top of that. However the mainstream subjects for jobs are biology and chemistry.
OrlaithBR16 @Lorna: when you did the training was it fun?
LennonKayR16dummy @LennonKayR16dummy: what you’re least favourite part about you’re job
ReillyNR16 @all Did you have any other jobs before the one you have now
Sue @ReillyNR16: I have always been in academia.
OrlaMR16 @all Do you all work with serious cases
Sue @OrlaMR16: Yes I do. They may be murders, mass fatalities etc.
RobynTR16 @all what would happen if you touched the evidence
Sue @RobynTR16: You are trained not to until the time is right and you have the right procedures in place.
RobynTR16 @Sue: tysm for replying
Sue @RobynTR16: My pleasure
ColeSR16 @Sue How was the job when you first started?
Sue @ColeSR16: Very different to now. We did not have DNA analysis when I started.
JaidynWR16 @Katy Katy how long dose it take for the DNA sample to come back
Katy @JaidynWR16: I don’t work with DNA I’m afraid – perhaps one of the other scientists here could give you a better answer than me?! 🙂
CarysMR16 @all what happens if it rains? Will it wash the dna off of the body/evidence?
Sue @CarysMR16: We tend to put up tents not only to protect the scene from prying eyes but also to protect the evidence and the team from inclement weather.
GeorgiaGR16 @Lorna How is soil good to use in forensic science?
Lorna @GeorgiaGR16: helps Poluce know where to search as the soil in a suspects shoe of vehicle can pin point where they have been. Then as evidence by comparing soil on shoe with soil at the locus. Then giving evidence in court.
OrlaithBR16 @Lorna have you ever worked on a famous case?
Lorna @OrlaithBR16: look on Expert Witness Series IPlayer. Some are shown on there. One of my first was the Worlds End double murder.
DarceyKR16 @all have you ever been part of a really serious like a big case ?
Sue @DarceyKR16: Yes including murders, war crimes and mass fatalities.
RiaCR16 @Jo when you started this job we’re you scared or were you excited:)?
Jo @RiaCR16: Both! The thought of doing something wrong is always worrying as you only get one chance to collect evidence, but it’s very exciting at the same time!
BaileyWR16 @Sue Other than human remains what other animal remains have you found?
Sue @BaileyWR16: All sorts. Most commonly seals on the shore but also dogs, foxes, sheep, deer, pigs, cats and even a tortoise.
CharlotteFR16 @Jo why did you decide to change your profession from a crime scene investigator to a lecturer and researcher in forensic science?
Jo @CharlotteFR16: I’d been a CSI from a long time and wasn’t interested in being a manager as it would mean spending lots of time in an office. I’d always loved training people in the Police so thought that i’d try teaching instead and loved it!
JaidynWR16 @all What is the most serious case yous have had
Lorna @JaidynWR16: all are serious.
ReillyNR16 @all Do you go to the person that dieds funeral
Sue @ReillyNR16: Generally not although our entire team was invited to the massed funerals in Kosovo.
Lorna @ReillyNR16: no that would not be appropriate. We stay objective and impartial.
LucasMR16 @Jo how long does it take for one crime scene?
Jo @LucasMR16: It could be an hour or could be weeks! Depends on the seriousness of the case
GraceCR16 @Jo what subjects did you take in school
Jo @GraceCR16: For A-levels i did Maths, French and Theatre Studies – i would not advise this at all, but i had no help in choosing when i was younger
CarysMR16 @all at a crime scene is it only forensics scientists that work or is there different types?
Sue @CarysMR16: At a crime scene there are often emergency services, the police etc as well as the scientists.
SophiaPR16 @Kate @Jo @Sue @Lorna @Katy @all What is your favourite and least favourite peice of equipment to work with ?
Kate @SophiaPR16: I like using my microscope to find out what type of insect I am looking at. I don’t like computers much!
JaidynWR16 @all How long did it take to get a degree
Sue @JaidynWR16: I did a 4 year undergraduate and then a 3 year PhD.
Katy @JaidynWR16: 4 years for the degree and a lot longer for my PhD! 😂
Lorna @JaidynWR16: 4 years undergraduate and 3 years PhD
FaithAR16 @all has the dead body ever moved when you where at the scene
Sue @FaithAR16: Not moved as such but it can ‘settle’ particularly following fire.
LennonKayR16dummy @Sue @Kate How long where you in university to be in your job?
Kate @LennonKayR16dummy: I did 3 years in my first degree, then a year for my Masters degree then 4 years for my PhD but I took some time out to work in laboratories between my MSc and PhD.
GraceCR16 @all Are any of your jobs scary at points
Sue @GraceCR16: No but it is a fascinating job.
modmax @mre16: that’s the idea! glad we’ve made it a tad easier for you 🙂
Mod – Shane @mre16: Hello. Big favour to ask. The Royal Institution are very keen to see some pictures of students taking part in the Forensic Zone. Any chance of some shots from Glasgow for their reports?
mre16 @Mod – Shane: no problem.
Mod – Shane @mre16: TY
Katy @mre16: This has made my day hearing this! 🥰
MarcusSR16 @Sue can the remains get really messy?
Sue @MarcusSR16: Very. When intact they are easy and when they are a skeleton they are easy – it is the bit in between whilst the body is decomposing that it gets messy and smelly.
RobynTR16 @all How often do you have to work
Sue @RobynTR16: I work as an academic as well as a forensic practitioner – so it is full time.
GeorgiaGR16 @Sue what is the problem you are investigating?
Sue @GeorgiaGR16: Our problem is usually ‘who was the person when they were alive’. We look to establish identity.
SophiaPR16 @all would you recommend doing your job to other people ?
Sue @SophiaPR16: Absolutely – but don’t think you are going to get rich and famous.
OrlaMR16 @all What can be useful to help you solve a case?
Lorna @OrlaMR16: any material in a questioned sample that can link to a scene
FaithAR16 @Katy How do you get get dna out of make up?
Katy @FaithAR16: I don’t work in DNA but from a CSI perspective they would probably swab it – either wet or dry depending on the stain and the substrate
DarceyKR16 @Kate what is the main thing you do on your job like on the daily basis?
Kate @DarceyKR16: I’m a Lecturer at a university so the main thing I do is teach or prepare my teaching.
ReillyNR16 @all How many times a week do you work
Kate @ReillyNR16: I work part-time so I usually work 3 days a week
CarysMR16 @Katy what happens if it rains? Does it wash off the dna?
Katy @CarysMR16: Oooh what a good question, you’ve clearly thought about it! So this comes under the heading of persistence and that’s a really tricky area with lots of variables. I don’t look for DNA, only the chemicals in the makeup but rain might still affect those chemicals so it’s definitely a consideration…
OrlaMR16 @all What kind of Chemical tests would you test?
Lorna @OrlaMR16: lots of different chemical tests to use. Depending on what you are looking for.
SophiaPR16 @Kate @Jo @Sue @Lorna @Katy How many holidays a year do you get ?
Kate @SophiaPR16: I work at a university so my holiday allowance is quite good. I get 7 weeks holiday a year.
Sue @SophiaPR16: I am not very good at taking holidays so I usually try to use August.
ColeSR16 @Jo What do you research in forensic science?
Jo @ColeSR16: I’m a fingerprint geek! I try to find better ways of finding fingerprints at crime scenes so that CSIs have an easier job
ReneeTR16 @all how long do you have to work in a day?
Kate @ReneeTR16: I usually start at 8.30-9am and try to finish by 6pm but it is not always possible
Lorna @ReneeTR16: can be 24 hrs if needed.
LucasMR16 @all what’s the worst crime scene you’ve been on ?
Lorna @LucasMR16: the ones where we sit find what we are looking for.
SophiaPR16 @Kate @Jo @Sue @Lorna @Katy Do you get the weekends off ?
Kate @SophiaPR16: I get most weekends off but have to work some of them. For example, this weekend I am going to give a talk about the work I do at a conference in Wales and in two weeks I am working an open day at university
Sue @SophiaPR16: Not necessarily. your work is dictated by the needs of the case.
Katy @SophiaPR16: At uni, yes, at the hospital, no, I work every weekend!!
Lorna @SophiaPR16: yes you need down time to keep fresh. But sometimes you have to travel away so will need to work odd hours.
CharlotteFR16 @Katy what is the process of testing makeup for DNA like?
Katy @CharlotteFR16: I’m afraid I’m not the best person to ask as I haven’t done a DNA analysis since 2006!
Katy @CharlotteFR16: But with regards to getting DNA from a sample, the CSIs would probably swab the stain or perhaps take a dry lift depending on the substrate
GeorgiaGR16 @Kate what kind of bugs etc do you identify as a entomologist?
Kate @GeorgiaGR16: I mostly work with flies
SophiaPR16 @Kate @Jo @Sue @Lorna @Katy Would you recommend your job to people ?
Kate @SophiaPR16: yes because it is interesting and no because it can be very stressful at times
RiaCR16 @Katy why do you need to look for makeup at crime scenes😱?
Katy @RiaCR16: To catch the bad guys 😉
SekinahR16 @Sue how can you tell if a person chocked to death or died naturally
Sue @SekinahR16: Cause of death is the remit of the pathologist. The anthropologist is more about identification.
SophiaPR16 @Kate @Jo @Sue @Lorna @Katy how many holidays a year do you get ?
Kate @SophiaPR16: I get 7 weeks a year
SofiaCR16 @all Have any of you met ?:)
Sue @SofiaCR16: I know @lorna very well as we have worked together many times.
CarysMR16 @Lorna did somebody or a case inspire you to get your job? Or did you decide on your own.
Lorna @CarysMR16: Sherlock Holmes inspired me in Arthur Conor Doyle’s Study in Scarlet
JaidynWR16 @all What made you want to do your job
Sue @JaidynWR16: Curiosity. I like to solve problems.
MarcusSR16 @Jo what’s the oddest way you’ve found the criminal?
Jo @MarcusSR16: Great question! Probably via a bit of string that the offender used to lasso around a key which they then used to open the door – i was amazed that we got his DNA on it!
FaithAR16 @all how long have yous all being working as this
Lorna @FaithAR16: 20 years
CarysMR16 @Katy have you ever met a famous person while working at a scene?
Katy @CarysMR16: I’ve never worked at a scene but I did bump into Timmy Mallet at Battle Abbey a couple of years ago 🤣
ReillyNR16 @all How much do you like your job or dislike
Lorna @ReillyNR16: love it
OrlaMR16 @all What were the main subjects that you had to pass to get your job in high school?
Sue @OrlaMR16: I did chemistry, biology, english and maths
GraceCR16 @Lorna is your job exciting?
Lorna @GraceCR16: yes always, cause you don’t know what you are going to find……
OrlaithBR16 @Katy What do you do with the make up after the case is solved?
Katy @OrlaithBR16: Ah, my research isn’t based on real casework samples but I really hope it can be in the future. Most evidence from a case is stored so it can be reanalysed if necessary
OliviaBR16 @Katy @Lorna @Sue @Kate @all did you like your job when you just started?
Sue @OliviaBR16: From day one.
Katy @OliviaBR16: Yep. From my first lecture I was instantly hooked 🙂
DanielMR16 @Jo What is the hardest thing about your job
Jo @DanielMR16: Not being able to recover evidence from all scenes – makes me sad!
CarysMR16 @Kate where is the weirdest place you have found a body?
Kate @CarysMR16: I haven’t been to a crime scene where there has been a body yet
GeorgiaGR16 @Katy How long has it took you to identify and trace makeup ?
Katy @GeorgiaGR16: 8 and a half years and counting so far! 🙂
ReillyNR16 @all Do you think you will have another job after the job you have now
Sue @ReillyNR16: I will retire after this job and perhaps do a bit more writing.
CarysMR16 @all what happens if it rains before forensic reaches the body?
Lorna @CarysMR16: depends how much rain and other variables. Prefer not torrents!
KaydenMR16 @Jo What is the most dangerous job you have done?
Jo @KaydenMR16: Being alone at a crime scene late a night with a victim of crime who has a long criminal record themselves!
LucasMR16 @all what’s your favourite bit about your job?
Lorna @LucasMR16: finding an answer to the case question we have been given.
MarcusSR16 @Sue What’s the longest you’ve spent on one remain and found out who it was eventually?
Sue @MarcusSR16: It was about 10 years from the point of discovery to final identification.
SofiaCR16 @all what is the most gruesome part of your job,and why ?
Lorna @SofiaCR16: recovering body parts from the soil and sampling from the corpse.
Lorna @SofiaCR16: recovering body parts from the soil and sampling from the corpse.
mre16 @all the children are all delighted that everyone of them has had at least one reply. Thank you.
Sue @mre16: We are doing our best. Huge number of questions which is brilliant.
GeorgiaGR16 @Lorna how is soil important or used for forensic science?
Lorna @GeorgiaGR16: in search and as evidence in court.
ColeSR16 @all Have you came close to quitting at one point?
Sue @ColeSR16: Sometimes in the courtroom you wonder why we do it but then you see the results of your work and you know it is worthwhile.
JaidynWR16 @Sue do u ever get worried that you won’t be able to identify the person
Sue @JaidynWR16: Yes. This is a really big problem for us as we firmly believe that everyone should be identified so that they can be returned to family and friends for a proper burial.
CarysMR16 @all what is the saddest case you have worked on?
Sue @CarysMR16: Child deaths are always tragic.
RiaCR16 @Kate how long have you did your job for?:)
Kate @RiaCR16: I have been in the job I do now for 12 years
FaithAR16 @Katy How long does it take to get the dna results from the make up
LennonKayR16dummy Where abouts do you investigate the most
Sue @LennonKayR16dummy: Wherever we are asked. So anywhere in the UK or overseas.
CarysMR16 @Lorna do you do examinations in all weather?
Lorna @CarysMR16: yes, rain, snow, hailstones…. We do get scene tents
LucasMR16 @all what’s it like doing a investigation?
Kate @LucasMR16: it’s like solving a puzzle and putting together all the pieces of information you have to answer a question
MarcusSR16 @Lorna Have you ever found the weapon hidden under the soil?
Lorna @MarcusSR16: yes we have and geophysics is good for detecting where weapons are buried
OrlaithBR16 @Lorna have you ever investigated a piece of soil then it disappeared the next day?
Lorna @OrlaithBR16: no chain of custody keeps samples intact unless destroyed with the chemical analysis
modmax 🕒 15 minutes left everyone! 🕗
OrlaithBR16 @Katy have you ever traced makeup to the wrong person?
Katy @OrlaithBR16: I haven’t been able to apply my research to actual cases yet but let’s hope that will change!
CarysMR16 @Kate have you ever blamed the wrong person for a murder?
Kate @CarysMR16: my job doesn’t involve me blaming anyone for a murder.
ReillyNR16 @all What would you do if you we’re doing your job and then you’re suit rippes
Sue @ReillyNR16: You take it off and put another one one but the suit you take off has to be retained as possible evidence.
ReillyNR16 @Sue: that is is REALLY interesting
ReillyNR16 @Sue: how hard would that be
CarysMR16 @Kate do you have to kick people out if their homes/streets to investigate?
Kate @CarysMR16: No. And when I’ve been to crime scenes with crime scene investigators it has been for a break in so the people are still in there home
LucasMR16 @all what’s the most popular weapon to be found on a crime scene?
Sue @LucasMR16: Weapons aren’t often found at the crime scene as they tend to be taken away.
Lorna @LucasMR16: sadly knives then guns
OrlaMR16 @all Have you ever been in a situation when you had to work on your own?
Jo @OrlaMR16: Most of a CSIs job is completed on their own
Sue @OrlaMR16: Yes but it is not advised and in Scotland we must work in pairs for the sake of legal corroboration.
DarceyKR16 @all Have you ever got cases mixed up ?
Sue @DarceyKR16: I once put the wrong name on a report and noticed just in time before it was submitted.
JaidynWR16 @all Why do you do your job
Sue @JaidynWR16: I can make a difference to families who are at their lowest having just lost someone they loved.
Lorna @JaidynWR16: cause it matters
DanielMR16 @Jo do you get a break in a investigation
Jo @DanielMR16: Yes, although it’s usually a quick one to eat something before starting again. We all go home at night though – we don’t have to stay at the scene
SofiaCR16 @Kate @Jo @Sue @Katy @Lorna Have any of you met ?
Kate @SofiaCR16: No, I don’t think so but I know some of the others by name 🙂
Katy @SofiaCR16: What a lovely question! Tbh I feel like I know some of the scientists on here now! 🙂
CarysMR16 @Kate do you have to investigate everybody who was living in the street of the murder?
Kate @CarysMR16: I don’t ask questions about who the murderer could be but the people that do use the evidence they find to lead the investigation
KaydenMR16 @Katy how many cases have you worked?
Katy @KaydenMR16: None yet 🙁 as soon as I finish my studies I hope I can start to help police forces and labs out with the results of my research though 🙂
RiaCR16 @all have any of you got a fright when you saw a scary crime scene ?
Sue @RiaCR16: No we are trained to take it all in. No two scenes are ever the same so we expect the unexpected.
MarcusSR16 @Jo What’s the oddest thing someone’s used as weapon?
Jo @MarcusSR16: Fab question! Probably a pool/snooker cue!
JaidynWR16 @all Is it hard telling the family that the Person has died
Sue @JaidynWR16: This is usually done by Family Liaison Officers and not something I would have to do thankfully. That is a tough job.
SophieYR16 @all Have you ever blamed the wrong person????
Sue @SophieYR16: Not that I am aware of. Or maybe I should say – not yet.
CarysMR16 @all have you ever done an investigation abroad?
Sue @CarysMR16: Yes. I have worked in Kosovo, Thailand, Grenada, Iraq, Qatar and Sierra Leone.
AbbieMR16 @Katy What is the most common makeup you come across during a crime scene?
Katy @AbbieMR16: I haven’t analysed any makeup from scenes yet but my guess would be foundation as market research shows the UK prefers complexion products to lipstick nowadays 🙂
SophiaPR16 @Katy what would happen if the person wasn’t wearing makeup when they were murderd ?
Katy @SophiaPR16: Hmmm, then we’d have to think of something else! Makeup is only one branch of cosmetics though, toiletries are used by everyone!
GeorgiaGR16 @Lorna how did your knowledge of bloodstain pattern analysis help you to secure convictions in you past experience?
DarceyKR16 @all Where you good at certain things in school ?
Sue @DarceyKR16: I was good at biology because my teacher was brilliant. I still stay in touch with him – 45 years later. He was an inspiration.
CarysMR16 @all In highschool did science or biology study forensics?
Sue @CarysMR16: Not in my time at school.
modmax Students – I’m going to pause the chat so the scientists have a chance to answer your questions!
modmax Whilst it’s paused, have a look at some of the answers to your questions, and think of a follow-up quesiton!
OliviaBR16 @all Have you ever solved a case?
Sue @OliviaBR16: I have certainly helped to solve many cases.
mre16 @modmax – I’m delighted with the quality of questions from the children. They are currently discussing their questions and answers – getting ready to ask more!👍
Mod – Shane @mre16: The quality and quantity are VERY impressive.
mre16 @Mod – Shane: they are indeed!
Sue @mre16: We are trying to keep up 🙂
mre16 @Sue: you’re doing brilliantly – welcome to my world of being
Sue @mre16: Bless you.
OrlaMR16 @all What subjects in particular did you have to pass?
Kate @OrlaMR16: I had to pass my Maths, English and Science GCSEs and then I did Biology and Chemistry at A-level before going to university
Sue @OrlaMR16: I had to pass four to get into University – biology, chemistry, maths and english
OliviaBR16 @all Is it hard to try and solve a case
Kate @OliviaBR16: Usually it takes a lot of pieces of information that need to fit together into giving an answer. All these pieces of information come from different places, for me it would be about the insects I find, whereas for Lorna it would be about the soil.
modmax I’m going to un-pause the chat now, but don’t worry if your question hasn’t been answered when the chat finishes, as the scientists can still answer them! have a look at the transcript afterwards to check for answers!
OrlaMR16 @Katy What is a laser light?
Katy @OrlaMR16: The laser is a beam of light that only has a single wavelength (unlike sunlight which has lots) so my red laser has a wavelength of 633nm 🙂
OliviaBR16 @Kate @all what’s the most saddest case that was solved
Kate @OliviaBR16: I think cases involving young people are very sad
modmax 🧠 If you want to ask more questions after the chat, head to the Ask page!
GeorgiaGR16 @Jo What is the coolest thing about working in crime scenes with police etc ?
Jo @GeorgiaGR16: So many things, from being escorted by police cars with blue flashing lights to finding out information on cases that is kept a secret from everyone else!
Kate @GeorgiaGR16: As Jo said, a Police escort is pretty cool and getting to ride in the crime scene investigators van too.
GraceCR16 @Katy How long does it take till the make up wears out ?
Katy @GraceCR16: That depends whether it’s on the original person, or transferred to another person or substrate. Then it would depend on the type of substrate and the environmental conditions and the type of makeup etc… the variables are endless!
RiaCR16 @Sue have any dead bodies been hide in a bag mattress etc:?
Sue @RiaCR16: Yes we have worked on bodies in suitcases or wrapped in carpets or duvets.
CarysMR16 @all do you do alot of work on animals?
Sue @CarysMR16: I don’t work on animals.
Kate @CarysMR16: I don’t work with animal cases but it is an area that I am interested in
modmax 🕒 5 minutes left everyone! 💥
DarceyKR16 @all do you have people or friends that you work with or do you work alone ?
Jo @DarceyKR16: Both to be honest. CSIs normally work alone at scenes but chat with work friends at the police station before and after (sometimes chat whilst at scenes on police radios!)
JaidynWR16 @Sue What is the worst case yet
Sue @JaidynWR16: Child deaths are particularly difficult.
modmax 🧠 Students, as the chat is about to end perhaps copy and paste your last questions to the Ask page so the scientists will have more time to answer them
AbbieMR16 @Sue How many cases have you ever done?
Sue @AbbieMR16: I have been involved in the identification of thousands of individuals.
SophiaPR16 @all how many cases have you tried to solve ?
Sue @SophiaPR16: Certainly in the hundreds.
MarcusSR16 @all does it make you sad seeing how much people get murdered?
Jo @MarcusSR16: Yes – it’s always sad, but i know that i have a job to do and the best thing for me to do is help find out what happened and who did it
Sue @MarcusSR16: We must do our job impartially and so try to remain detached.
CarysMR16 @Jo do you ever get rewards?
Jo @CarysMR16: I’ve been honoured to received Police commendations for my work as a CSI. I’ve also won awards as a lecturer. None involve money though!
DanielMR16 @Jo when you first stared your job did anything surprise you
Jo @DanielMR16: Yes – the fingerprints looked rubbish to me, but still managed to identify someone on my first ever case!
SekinahR16 @all Did you have to go to university,apprenticeship-or college for your job
Jo @SekinahR16: For most roles you would need a degree.
Sue @SekinahR16: I went to University for 7 years of study.
SofiaCR16 @all @Lorna @Kate @Jo @Sue @Katy thank you so much for answering me today,it’s made My day !:)
CarysMR16 @Lorna what is your least favourite thing in the job?
SophieYR16 @Kate How many cases have you done?
JaidynWR16 @all Have you ever caught any one at the crime scene
Sue @JaidynWR16: Not actually at the crime scene – no.
CarysMR16 @all do you ever go abroad to study?
Sue @CarysMR16: All my studies have been undertaken in the UK but I liaise with overseas colleagues frequently and attend workshops and conferences overseas.
OliviaBR16 @all Thank you everyone who has responded to my chats they where all so interesting!
CarysMR16 @Lorna how long did you study for?
DanielMR16 @all when yous first started your job did anything surprise you
JaidynWR16 : @all Have you ever caught any one at the case scene
BaileyWR16 @all What is the most important case you have worked on?
OrlaMR16 @all Do you like to go abroad to work?
Sue @OrlaMR16: Yes because it poses different challenges.
SofiaCR16 Bye everyone!
SophieYR16 Thank you very much byeeee!!!
modmax 👏🏻 A massive thank you to the scientists for making time to come talk to you today! 👏🏻
RiaCR16 Bye thank you for answering me!!😊
SophiaPR16 Bye 👋🏻
ReneeTR16 Thank you bye!!
FaithAR16 Thx and goodbye
RobynTR16 BYEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!:( 👋
Kate Thanks for your questions. Sorry I didn’t get to answer them all!
AbbieMR16 Thank you!
modmax ⭐️ Thank you students for your questions today! We hope you’ve enjoyed the chat ⭐️
Lorna Thank you all, great questions today!! Good luck
Katy Oh dear, slow typing from me, sorry I couldn’t get round to replying to you all but thank you so much for your questions!
Katy Got to get to the next chat now, bye!