University runs crime and forensics open day

Tuesday, 18 March, 2014


A crime and forensics open day is taking place at the University of Portsmouth this Saturday 22 March.

At this free event visitors can wander through a 'real' murder scene, look for evidence and talk to scene of crime officers to find out how crime scene investigators work with forensic biologists to piece together clues.  The forensic facial reconstruction team will show what marks on human skulls can reveal to investigators, while experts will demonstrate how fingerprint evidence is collected and used.  

Other stands and exhibits will include forensic biology with a DNA exhibits and trace evidence, digital imaging and computer crime and an entomology exhibit explaining how insects can help solve crimes.

University lecturers will be on hand to talk about their expertise in criminology, forensics, psychology, law and technology discuss some of their more unusual research such as how to spot a liar, how investigators use our memory recall and how criminals decide on their targets.  Psychologists will explain how, by interviewing offenders, police are working out how to best use CCTV to help fight crime. 

Special guests include Hampshire Police, who will have a range of experts from areas such as crime scene investigation (CSI) and a team from the International School for Security and Explosives Education, who will talk about their work with forensic bomb explosive analysis and have real examples of detonated devices.

There will be an opportunity to test your memory as a witness at the Memory Stand and a Cluedo Treasure Hunt for children. Throughout the day there will be mini lectures on topics including –

·         How criminal trials work (in the  ‘mock court’)

·         Silent Witness - forensic pathologists at work

·         Discrimination, mental illness and crime

·         How reliable are eyewitnesses at crime scenes?

·         Digital forensics and crime scene reconstructions 

·         Police and social media – how social media fits into police-work

·         Role of forensics in serious and major criminal investigations

·         Wildlife crime and the trade in endangered species

The event is designed to open up the world of criminal investigation, forensic studies and psychology to the general public and follows on the success of the inaugural event in 2012.

Professor Steve Savage, Head of the University’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, said that it’s a chance for anyone at all to come along and discover the secrets known to specialist criminologists. 

“You’ve seen it on television but this is a unique opportunity to talk to the real experts and find out what goes on behind the scenes of a genuine criminal investigation. 

“We ran the event in 2012 and it was such a success we decided to run another – a family day out with a twist and we hope that as many people as possible will come and join us.”  

A talk about courtroom procedure will take place in the University’s mock courtroom where students from the University’s law courses will appear in wigs and gowns and where a video showing a crime and the resulting trial will run periodically.

The event is taking place at the University of Portsmouth, organised by staff and students at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies in collaboration with Hampshire Police and other local partners. 

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