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CSI Cambridgeshire: Pupils play forensic investigator for the day

POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Darryl Preston visited schools and universities across the county to teach children and young people about how the police use forensics.

The face to face sessions were offered to mark British Science Week (11th – 20th March 2022).

Students from Peterborough University and Cambourne Primary School welcomed Darryl and Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s forensics specialist, Josef Jacobs. The two presented tailored sessions which included real life cases in which forensics had been used. They also talked about the principles of the science and showed students what a day in the life of a forensics expert is like.

“I am passionate about the importance of using forensics to fight crime and in Britain we are world leaders in this area,” said Darryl.

“British Science Week provided the perfect opportunity for myself and Josef to get out into our schools and teach the next generation all about our proud heritage.”

Cambourne Primary School students acted as crime scene investigators to work out which of their teachers took a missing teddy. They followed scientific clues, carried out interviews and used forensics techniques to solve the mystery.

“Darryl and I have both really enjoyed running the forensics sessions this week. There is a lot more involved in forensics that TV shows like CSI miss out,” Josef added. “I hope that we have inspired some young people this week to consider a career in forensics.”

A forensic van, DNA swabs, finger printing and personal protective equipment suits were made available to students so they could experience using the tools of the trade.

Josef even used forensic powder to show pupils that even though DNA is not always visible, the police can still find ways to uncover it. The children were particularly excited when Josef exposed a hidden footprint using the powder.

“Our pupils thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the investigation and discovering which teacher was the culprit, whilst learning about forensic science,” Anna Elliott, Cambourne Primary School Teacher said.  “Darryl and Josef inspired the children and made them think about how their science lessons could be useful in their future careers.”

Darryl is the national forensics lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.