• Question: Do you think that the CSI are doing the investigations the correct way?

    Asked by albert19 to Mark, Jamie, Jodie, Kat, Niamh on 21 Mar 2011 in Categories: . This question was also asked by caitlinmoffatxx.
    • Photo: Mark Hill

      Mark Hill answered on 15 Mar 2011:

      Hi Albert19,
      Although I don’t generally watch it, sometimes things are quite accurate, but, in the main, for the timescale of their examinations and research, definitely no. DNA profiling takes longer to develop than the instant results that they show on TV. Low copy no. (LCN) DNA testing takes even longer, in having to prepare a large enough sample for profiling.

      I always question why they are not ‘booted, masked and suited’ at crime scenes, which is a definite ‘no, to preserving evidence. They also walk straight in to a room, up to a body, turn it over, pick up gun cases, all without recording photographically first. The fundamental approach to a collision or crime scene is an ‘onion skin’ approach, in which, like peeling the layers from an onion, a careful considered and non-destructive examination is made in stages, gradually working in, toward the crime locus. However, I am not saying that CSI and NCIS aren’t good programs – they are very good for developing the interest in forensic science and my world, which has to be a good starting point.

      If you are thinking of a path in forensic science, then I wish you good luck. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

    • Photo: Jodie Dunnett

      Jodie Dunnett answered on 21 Mar 2011:

      CSI is loosely based around the real techniques that are used although things take a lot longer in real life and we tend to be much more careful at crime scenes to ensure that we don’t contaminate the scene (i.e. by wearing the appropriate protective clothing). I have seen some technology on the programme that hasn’t actually been invented yet!

    • Photo: Niamh Nic Daeid

      Niamh Nic Daeid answered on 21 Mar 2011:

      Hi albert

      no not really. Certainly not how we conduct investigations here in the UK. Here we are very concerned with contamination at crime scenes and the investigators always wear the correct protective clothing. Also it takes a lot more time in reality to cary out DNA profiling or drug analysis etc than on the TV programs and the results you get have to be interpreted in light of the circumstances of the case and often produce results which may not be certain

    • Photo: Jamie Pringle

      Jamie Pringle answered on 21 Mar 2011:

      Hello albert19/caitlinoffatxx,

      Do you mean active CSIs in Forensic searches or the TV programme? The TV programme, probably not as my colleagues have mentioned.

      Active CSIs can be very experienced and so tend to go through what they know works. In some situations however, they may not get a result, which is where I come in. Hopefully us geophysicists can spread the word and try and get us to be used in more cases. I hope so anyway!