Scene Examination

The importance of skilled Scene Examiners cannot be underestimated.  They greatly assist Police investigations at all levels of criminality as well as during major incidents and disasters, often providing investigating officers with the ‘silent witness' that can help solve their crimes.

When examining a scene the Scene Examiner will conduct a meticulous search of the area to recover the evidence which can prove or disprove if a crime has occurred.  They will look for fingerprints, footprints, DNA and any other forensic evidence which is then taken back to the lab for analysis and processing. 

The Work of the Scene Examiner

  • Recording a scene
  • Conducting a structured and sequential examination for physical and trace evidence
  • Gathering evidence
  • Submitting gathered evidence to the laboratories for scientific analysis
  • Reporting findings to the Procurator Fiscal
  • Giving evidence in Judicial proceedings

Scene Examination staff at the SPA Forensic Services routinely provide these scientific support services through a local operational response to every day policing situations.  They apply their skills, experience, expert knowledge and technology in support of criminal investigation across the geographical areas of the Police Service of Scotland.  

They are assisted in their activities through the existence of a number of specialist support functions, such as photography and chemical enhancement of crime scene marks.

Photography is an essential element in the Scene Examiners ‘toolbox' as it allows the examiner to record information accurately for further investigation and presentation of evidence in court.  The photography function is carried out by the Scene Examiner or by officers from our Forensic Imaging Units.

Our commitment to innovation and our use of highly advanced technologies has been instrumental in the development of the ‘Return to Scene' software which allows our examiners to create a 3 dimensional virtual copy of the scene, giving a 'real time' focus to the investigation. 

Specialist Tasks

In addition to their main tasks, Scene Examiners are also trained in a variety of specialist functions:

  • Response to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incidents.  Expert training is regularly provided to prepare staff to undertake evidence recovery at dangerous and possibly contaminated scenes.
  • E-fit training which gives staff with the ability to create computer images of suspects of a crime, based on accounts from eyewitnesses.
  • Recovery of evidence from major incidents which have resulted in fatalities.  

Training and Qualifications

Scene Examiners must be dedicated and have the ability to think logically, with qualifications in a science related subject or a HNC in photographic studies.

The training of Scene of Crime Staff in Scotland is to nationally accepted levels.  Additional specialist training skills are provided in such areas as, CBRN, Post Bomb Scene Management, Fire and Explosion Investigation and Disaster management.