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Forensic science students unearth body of evidence.

Byline: John Hill

NEWCASTLE College's forensic scientists of the future are the first to be given access to a prototype decomposed body. The silicone fake corpse is being used to enable the college's forensic science and computing students to improve their skills in retrieving DNA, blood and fingerprint samples.

It has been provided by Crime Scene Resources, which supplies "bodies" for the National Police Improvement Agency for the training of scene of crime officers. It is designed to simulate the state of decomposition of a body after one day.

Gordon Crombie, section manager of the School of Applied Science and Technology, said: "To be the first in the world to access this new prototype is a real coup for the college and will give our students access to higher level skills analysis.

"The body is state-of-the-art and totally realistic. It gives our learners a real sense of what it is like in a genuine crime scene and allows them to develop the skills and techniques required to work in this industr y."

Newcastle College offers foundation degree courses in scientific and investigative methods and computing forensics, which were showcased to students on the college's Summer Schools programme.

Activities at the summer open day included crime scene investigation, fingerprint profiling, DNA and blood analysis and suspect profiling.

Students were asked to analyse a scene and collect evidence, in full protective clothing, before moving on to computer forensics. Their studies included discovering the level of privacy of information stored on a computer, and how hidden messages can be concealed in picture or music files through steganography.

The department is also looking into working with its automotive and aviation sections to stage a ransom scene or aircraft hijacking using its own Boeing 737 based at Newcastle College.

David Knight, 20, who has just completed a National Diploma IT Practitioners (Systems Support) and has applied to progress on to the FdSc computer forensics, said: "My ambition was to join the police force, but I was unsure whether or not to remain in education or to get a job.

"I have enjoyed the taster course so much more than I thought I would and I now definitely want to go on and do the foundation degree."

Ellie Jones, 17, from Dame Allan's School, said: "We have been collecting DNA samples and fingerprints.

We have also been learning about how blood spatters can hold clues to how the person died. I really liked looking at the bugs on the decomposed body which will tell you when the person died."


CONVINCING Hannah Bowman and Ellie Jones examine Newcastle College's new prototype sil i co n e "body", which will be used to train its forensics students
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 8, 2010
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