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Scene Examination

Scene Examiners 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 crimes.

A Scene Examiner conducts a meticulous search of a crime scene to recover the evidence which can prove or disprove a crime. We look for fingerprints, footprints, DNA, and any other forensic evidence which we take 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 Forensic Services SPA routinely provide these scientific support services through a local operational response to everyday policing situations. We apply our skills, experience, expert knowledge, and technology in support of criminal investigation across Scotland.  

We are assisted in our activities by 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 allowing the examiner to record information accurately for further investigation and presentation of evidence in court. Photography 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 3D virtual copy of the scene, giving a real-time focus to the investigation.

Specialist 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, and need qualifications in a science-related subject or an HNC in photographic studies.

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