Staffordshire University gains accreditation in Forensics

There can be no doubt that forensic science degrees provide a solid base for careers in crime scene investigation and scientific support, especially now that professional body, the Forensic Science Society, has launched its accreditation programme. Accreditation is based on meeting Component Standards that specify of the qualities, knowledge and skills that a degree or postgraduate qualification incorporates. There are three Component Standards, namely: Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Evidence (IEPE); Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) and Laboratory Analysis (LA) and to be successful a course must meet the component standard, IEPE, plus at least one of the other two. Staffordshire University is one of 4 UK institutions to have gained accreditation for its BSc(Hons) degrees and the only one to have an accredited postgraduate MSc course.

Forensic science courses can offer an advantage over other degrees for policing and related careers especially in producing graduates who are forensically aware. Police Forces have recognised the importance of forensic awareness in the training of new police recruits. To meet this need, Staffordshire University responded by developing a 3-day course in forensic awareness that has been enhanced by responding to feedback from attendees to such a point they have been contracted by Staffordshire Police to offer the course to new recruits until April 2008. Other Police Forces have expressed an interest in the course as part of their training course for new recruits.

Beginning in September 2007, Staffordshire university will be offering a new degree - BSc(Hons) Policing and Criminal Investigation. The course provides a solid base for pursuing careers in policing and related areas. It includes modules in forensic awareness, such as Introduction to Forensic Science and Recording the Crime Scene in the first year and Evidence Collection and Analysis in year two. Alongside these are more traditional policing-related modules such as Introduction to Policing in the first year, Crime and Dishonesty, and Investigative Skills at level 2, and Major Crime and Intelligence-Led Policing at level 3. The core structure is completed with criminology modules such as Crime and Deviance at level 1, Crime, Justice and Punishment at level 2 and Trans-national Organised Crime at level 3.

In addition, they are planning to design a Foundation Degree in Policing and Criminal Investigation is being planned to enable employees in policing and related areas to undertake professional development activities alongside their work duties. The Foundation Degree will feed into the final year of the BSc Policing and Criminal Investigation Degree and will make use of their extensive experience of distance learning and problem-based assessment.

For further information contact Dr Graham Harrison, Head of Forensic Science, Faculty of Sciences, Staffordshire University.

Tel 01782 294576

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