On Tuesday 28th September New York CSI officer Steve came to RSD to give Years 11 and 12 a real insight into his exciting job. When Steve (fully dressed in his work uniform including his gun belt) entered through the main doors, he looked like he had just stepped out of one of the CSI TV shows and so it was peculiar not to see Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan) and Katherine Walls (Mary Marg Helgenberger) walking behind him.
Steve demonstrated to RSD pupils how extremely developed forensic science (the study of evidence discovered at a crime scene) has become, making life much easier for modern day Miss Marples and Hercule Poirots (amazingly both of these Agatha Christie characters used forensic science as one of their investigating methods!).
Any criminal breathes, sneezes, scratches, walks, touches, sheds skin and hair, and so leaves behind samples of his DNA. The officer explained how forensic methods such as ‘forensic dactyloscopy’ (the study of fingerprints), DNA analysis and trace evidence are used to help find those tiny samples which will help to find the criminal.
After the talk, pupils from Years 11 and 12 were able to try their hand at the demanding procedures and techniques that a CSI officer would carry out to see how well they would cope. They were presented with one of the usual scenes that CSI officers come across – murder. The pupils’ challenging job was to figure out who out of four suspects is a murderer. Potential CSI officers from RSD had to look at the clues left behind in the crime scene such as DNA samples, footprint and fingerprint evidence and used forensic light to look for fluids, fibres or narcotics. The crime scene with a ‘dead girl’ was so unbelievably realistic with well thought through details which fully enabled the pupils to feel like they were 21st Century Lieutenant Columbos.
The enthusiastic Mrs. Hampton and Miss Robinson, who organised this event, were again able to prove that science is not only incredibly interesting but profitable as well, since a CSI officer earns £18,000 – £35,000 per year. Pupils enjoyed the experience and it will not be surprising if in two or three years time a high number of RSD pupils will apply to study forensic science at University, wishing to become even more famous than Sherlock Holmes but definitely not becoming as popular as Inspector Lestrade.