What it is
Forensic science is the application of science to the law, both civil and criminal, although it is mainly employed in criminal law. Forensic scientists work in many different branches, from the crime scene with police forensic staff and scenes of crime officers, through to private forensic providers offering a wide range of services, who analyse items collected as part of a scientific examination of a crime, providing reports and statements to be used in the prosecution of a case. The scientists will often also appear in court as expert witnesses.
How to get into forensic science
A forensic scientist will normally specialise in one of several disciplines such as drugs, toxicology, DNA, digital or environmental forensics. Ideally individuals wishing to become forensic scientists will have an undergraduate degree in a pure science followed by a master’s level forensic specialist degree. Police staff who work in fingerprint identification, fingermark development or in scene-going departments are frequently trained in-house in their particular specialism.
How does BAFS support forensic science?
BAFS is a truly interdisciplinary organisation that adds a breadth of understanding to the scientist as they engage with others in the forensic arena: lawyers, pathologists, clinicians and psychiatrists. The Academy has a programme of world-renowned speakers and organises specialist technical meetings. Students are encouraged to attend and the meetings are normally free for those studying or in the early stages of their careers. The Academy also offers prizes annually in the three disciplines: medicine, science and the law, and publishes its own journal.
Forensic medicine covers healthcare professionals working in police custody (forensic practitioners, sexual assault examiners, adult and child), prisons, forensic pathology, forensic psychiatry/mental health, medical examiners, medico-legal advisers, and medically qualified coroners.
More information can be found at the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine website
Forensic psychiatry is a medical specialty that provides assistance to the criminal courts when issues arise as to the mental state of defendants, witnesses and complainants. It is not to be confused with forensic psychology and it is far removed from television’s Cracker.
Law & Forensic Science
Providing Forensic / Expert Evidence. Any forensic expert can increase their professional contribution to the UK criminal (and civil) justice systems by ensuring they have a clear and up to date grasp of what the law requires of them.
BAFS welcomes applications for Membership from professionals with qualifications in medicine, science, or the law who have contributed, or are likely to contribute, to the application and practice of the Forensic Sciences. Applicants from within these disciplines who are interested, but lack experience, may be offered Associate Membership.