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Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma

Introduction

There has been a rise in interest in this subject due to the rise of television programmes covering police and crime investigations, and these, as well as actual case study material, provide useful material for this course. Forensic science is essentially the application of scientific principles for the resolution of legal disputes or as legal evidence or to prove/ disprove a crime. The aim is to provide impartial information which can be used to establish whether a crime has been committed and to evaluate physical evidence of a crime. This course provides a broad overview of the principles and techniques of forensic science, how evidence is analysed and interpreted, and how it is presented in court processes in the UK, and will follow UK legislation. Some knowledge of anatomy and physiology, basic understanding of statistics and analysis of data and chemistry to GCSE level is required.

forensic science

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above before entering our Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma.

Level 3 Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Study Hours

Approximately 20 hours per unit.

Assessment

Optional coursework and final examination.

Enrolment

Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Course Length

1 Year.

Awarding Body

ABC Awards

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Course Content

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 1: Role of Forensic Science and the Crime Scene

Forensic science is defined as the application of scientific techniques and technology to establish facts relating to a crime. It involves teaching knowledge about the recovery of evidence and establishing the events of a crime using intelligence information. The process is then taken to the laboratory. Quality assurance and maintaining integrity of the crime scene, use of an audit trail and evidence recovery is discussed since it can affect the outcome in court. Many of the tasks in crime scene processing can be tedious and mundane, but the recording the crime scene must be done professionally and accurately and is covered in depth. Modern computerised techniques aid e.g. in gathering and interpreting evidence, and in the recovery of physical and digital evidence is explored.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 2: Evidence: Trace and Contact

Key principles and practices are covered so that trace and contact evidence recovery of materials from the crime scene is done accurately. The factors and issues that affect how evidence is gathered in various processes such as finger prints identification, its classification and use in latent material. How the body leaves evidence and how it can be assessed is explored by looking at our anatomy such as hair growth, different body fluids, DNA-evidence and how finger-prints form. Other evidence covered includes footwear impressions, bite, tool, paint, soil samples, and tyre marks, and textile evidence. Several key cases and how they were influenced and solved by evidence forensics are discussed.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 3: Body Fluids and DNA

The main body fluids that can be analysed are discussed in the background of how and where they are produced in the body. The processes and analytical techniques used are complicated and up-to-date knowledge and experience in e.g. Blood and bloodstain pattern analysis is encouraged. People are unique, but some properties of fluids are very common so how to differentiate, identify any errors, and use this in possible identification is explored. Saliva and saliva analysis, semen and analysis, and DNA profiling, the involvement of mathematics in and analysis is investigated.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 4: Toxicology

The legal classification and commonly abused drugs and common poisons are that they produce a damaging and lethal effect. How they affect the body is covered in order to learn how to assess possible misuse of different substances and chemicals. The methods of analysis of toxic substances is explored for a range of common drugs and poisons since often harm is done by drugs which maybe be perfectly acceptable, e.g. prescribed drugs which can do harm e.g. in the case of Harold Shipman who used medicines to overdose his patients. The routes of uptake and elimination of toxic substances is considered.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 5: Documents as Evidence

The skills and expertise with appropriate technology needed in examining documents as evidence is crucial when presenting material to the courts. This section begins to teach ways of analysing handwritten documents, made easier by the advancement of technology e.g. electron microscope, and the difficulties involved. Practical activities and investigation of actual cases, such as that of Chris Cotter and analysis of some Hate mail, are given to help with practise of e.g. signature analysis and analysis of word-processed documents and copies. Other materials investigated are printed material e.g. [fake] passports and money, analysis of inks, paper and paper folds, tears, and anomalies.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 6: Firearms

The use of firearms in the UK (Europe) remains low when compared to other countries, but their use is increasing. The type of firearms and their attached components like silencer is covered here as their examination and that of the aftermath of the shooting scene can give useful information. Also investigated are the use of various ammunition and the ballistics (study of the projectile or bullet), including the harm and evidence left on the body or scene just as entry and exit wound, blood splatter or gunshot residue. Experience of the examination of firearms, spent cartridge cases, and bullets, and gunshot residue analysis is explained in helping form an opinion of a possible course of a crime. Caution is taught from the over-jealous case of the shooting of Jill Dando, a TV journalist where Barry George was convicted due to one particle of gunshot on his jacket. He was later freed as it became apparent that this particle could have come from anywhere, including the forensic scientists!

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 7: Fires, Explosions and Explosives

Arson is a common crime. The materials involved in fire and explosions are vast, so the matter can only be reviewed, using actual case study examples. Investigation of the scene begins as soon as the fire is extinguished and safety is assured as a fire or an explosion can cause extensive damage. The nature and behaviour of fire, where it began and detailed documentation of the fire scene investigation are explored. Fire, heat, explosives and the objects damaged take on or have many chemical and biological factors which are covered. How to conduct analysis of accelerants and classification of explosives is investigated. Investigation of explosion scenes and the analysis of explosions and explosives provide knowledge to help assess their use in a crime or an accident e.g. during gas explosive damaging a whole street and killing a family of five. Another recent example was the fire in a Fireworks factory and the police were tasked with proving if it was accidental or fraudulent.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 8: Human Remains

Often humans are burnt to remove all trace of a crime, but their investigation can reveal a host of information, e.g. a man who committed billions of pounds of fraud, was thought to have been killed in a shooting after which his body was supposedly burnt due to his teeth being found on the scene. It was later discovered that he has not died at all, but had falsified his death. Often an autopsy is encouraged if the course of death is suspected as having been foul. Forensic archaeology, post-mortem changes and estimation of time of death e.g. from decomposition which can prove difficult and emotive, is explored. The same techniques have been used in identifying the remains and cause of death in very ancient sites. The changes in the human body from death are covered in great detail as its helps in establishing a cause of death and can help in identification of remains.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 9: Statistical Analysis

As with all investigation, it is necessary to measure the validity of evidence and the techniques used when making a claim about a possible crime. What measurements are needed, what process is used to gather and interpret data, quantitative analysis, and how accurate are they in determining a hypothesis or making an assertion is covered here. Interpretation of forensic evidence, data types and distribution, accuracy and error is covered. How to conduct hypothesis testing and statistical tests, and the use of the Bayesian approach (a complex theorem used to predict the odds for and against a course of event) is covered in detail.

Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma Unit 10: Forensic Science and Court

The significant point of a forensic scientist’s work is that they might provide evidence in a court. The legal profession and the structures, processes and types of courts in the United Kingdom, and the personnel involved within them are overviewed. The criminal court system in England Forensic science, reports produced for the court, and how reporting in court by an Expert witnesses to clarify points and findings is discussed.

Progression

This Level 3 Forensic Science Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.

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