• Question: Evaluate the reasons why some scientists may be invaluable to a case in their field. Why might they be not useful? Is it due to their failure to complete hard-evidence? Why?

    Asked by bones to Jamie, Jodie, Kat, Mark, Niamh on 25 Mar 2011 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Mark Hill

      Mark Hill answered on 25 Mar 2011:

      Hi Bones,

      Every collision is different. They may be single vehicle into tree crashes, or car pulled out in front of motorcycle crashes. They may be stolen vehicle hitting pedestrian and failing to stop crashes.

      It is the job of the collision investigator to decide which skills and expertise he can provide by himself and that which is beyond his field of skill. That is where he has to call upon other specialists, such as digital forensics scientists to retrieve mobile phone and engine control unit data, Radiologists for examining failed car components, medical experts, to correlate injury patterns with the collision dynamic determined by the CI.

      Every job is different and not all skills and disciplines are used at each one. the overriding discipline is that of a scientific and analytical mind, that is disciplined and methodical.

      Thanks for you question.


    • Photo: Jamie Pringle

      Jamie Pringle answered on 25 Mar 2011:

      Hello bones, your last question? That’s a bit sad.

      Again this is more of a question for Mark as he is an active Police officer.

      Personally speaking, we generally get brought in when conventional search methods have failed, i.e. walking, searches, dogs etc. They then may ask more specialist scientists for assistance e.g. forensic botanists to note any unusual vegetation growth that may be indicative of a burial site, or remote sensing specialists to analyse satellite data to see if any anomalous regions might bear further, more intrusive investigations.

      However, even in my field of geophysics, just because I have pinpointed an anomalous region in a search area, that doesnt necessarily suggest that it may be the location of whatever it is that we are looking for – it may be another object, or, in the case of resistivity, an area of different soil moisture content. That is the hard thing to get across – my techniques offer non-unique solutions to a problem, many things may be causing the anomalies, not just the target material.

      Hopefully investigators take this on board and at least they have some definite areas to investigate rather than having to take the topsoil off the whole survey area.

      Hope that helps.