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Forensic Scientist » Learn More

Forensic scientists may do some or all of the following

  • visit crime scenes to find evidence
  • take notes and draw sketches of crime scenes
  • analyse physical evidence such as fibres, glass, debris, firearms, bullets and marks made by tools or weapons
  • identify drugs found on people, in body fluids or at crime scenes
  • analyse biological evidence such as hair, blood and other body fluids
  • analyse body tissues for poisons
  • write reports on the results
  • give evidence in court
  • investigate civil court cases such as fire or insurance claims
  • train police staff in collecting evidence.

At the technician level, the main tasks are to help scientists prepare and carry out a range of experiments and tests.

Forensic scientists need to have

  • the ability to use science to investigate crime
  • knowledge of the chemical make-up of things such as paint or textiles, blood, body tissues and DNA
  • knowledge of poisons and drugs, firearms and explosives
  • research skills
  • skill in analysing and interpreting research results and other information
  • practical skills for performing experiments and operating scientific equipment
  • problem-solving skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • communication skills
  • writing skills, for writing reports and for publications
  • maths and computer skills.

Forensic scientists must be

  • honest
  • motivated
  • responsible
  • able to keep information private
  • thorough and methodical
  • accurate and careful, with an eye for detail
  • able to handle pressure (some crime scenes can be very unpleasant, and giving evidence in court can be stressful).