Date of release: Friday, June 13, 2014

Linda BrownlowThe former Head of Crime Scene Training for the Metropolitan Police’s Crime Academy is now leading the Forensic Science programmes at the University of Greenwich.

Linda Brownlow has more than 20 years’ experience as a forensic training manager, crime scene examiner and fingerprint expert.

She says the university’s ongoing investment in facilities, such as its crime scene room and laboratories, is making sure that Greenwich is well placed to deliver cutting-edge training to forensic investigators of the future.

The university offers a BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science, and also in Forensic Science with Criminology.

Linda, a member of the Faculty of Engineering & Science at the Medway Campus, says: “Science and its core principles remain at the heart of our forensics teaching, but we’re also placing a huge emphasis on building up the practical skills and experience that employers demand.

“The main message that I have for our students is to be prepared for anything that might happen, once they are out there working as professionals. One day they might be helping to investigate the theft of a handbag, and the next day they might be working on a murder case.

“They will have to adapt to many different situations, and I will be helping them gain as much hands-on experience as they can, here at Greenwich, so they can see what the life of a forensics expert is really like.” 

Students hone their skills in the university’s on-campus crime scene room, carefully gathering evidence based on various scenarios that Linda has set up for them, and assessing the aftermath of these mock assaults, murders and other crimes. The crime scene room is central to students’ schooling in blood pattern analysis, taking finger prints and swabbing for DNA samples. They also learn crucial lessons in avoiding contaminating evidence.

In addition the university has invested in a crime scene car – a Mercedes A class, no less – in which students have to capture evidence of, for example, theft, drug dealing, abduction and kidnap.

In one optional module, forensics students can also now learn about insect activity, as this can give an indication to investigators of how long a body has been deceased, and they are also taught about identifying those killed in bombings or other atrocities. “It can be a challenging job, in which forensics investigators will see some upsetting scenes,” she says. “But I’m sure that the thorough grounding we give our students will set them up for rewarding careers, whether in the laboratories, or as part of the criminal justice system, or in a variety of other roles.”

Students are also trained to present evidence in court under rigorous cross-examination, and they attend classes given by experienced forensics practitioners, radiographers and anthropologists.

Greenwich is among a select group of universities to have gained accreditation from the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences for its crime scene investigation work, laboratory analysis and interpretation, evaluation and presentation of evidence elements.

It is also one of just a handful of universities in the UK to provide free Society membership for its students.

For more information on studying Forensic Science at the University of Greenwich: http://www2.gre.ac.uk/study/courses/ug/sci or call 020 8331 9000.

Story by Public Relations