Former Bolton School Girls’ Division pupil Lindsy Slamon returned to Bolton School to deliver a fascinating insight into the working life of a Senior Crime Scene Manager. Addressing an audience of girls and boys in Years 9-11, Lindsy told how in 1994 when she left Bolton School there were only two universities where you could study Forensic Science and she, not being entirely sure of her future career, had opted to study Molecular Biology. Now, she said, there were numerous universities offering Forensic Science degrees but cautioned that there are not that many jobs available in crime scene management. Greater Manchester Police, where she works, has seen numbers in the field almost halve since she started work there.
Lindsy explained how her job involves directing a team of up to 30 people and devising a forensic strategy – the best way to get as much information as possible out of a crime scene. There is a saying in her work that “every contact leaves a trace” – this could be through DNA, fingerprints, body fluids, hair, strands of clothing, footprints, a weapon and many other ways. More and more, she explained, digital evidence is becoming important and much can be gleaned from mobile phones and through automobiles where call information and phone data is also stored.
Lindsy emphasised how important it is to control a crime scene and talked of the equipment used to help achieve this, including paper suits, uniforms, tents, stepping plates, cones, tapes, masks, gloves, over-boots and the like. She also spoke of ‘latent evidence’ – that which cannot be seen but can be brought into play through enhancement techniques to highlight it. She said her work is often meticulous, where the tiniest detail makes a difference, and a team can often spend up to a week going over a flat where a crime has been committed.
The pupils, who had a number of probing questions, learnt how she needs a strong stomach and nerves of steel and how her work often involves murder, arson, rape, drugs, burglary and similar crimes. Lindsy told them that she works across Greater Manchester but a lot of her work takes place in Salford and that she has also overseen crime scenes in Bolton; she said she often finds that “those that live by the sword, die by the sword.” There was also an explanation of some of the different roles in her line of work, including fire arms expert, blood spray lines and pattern analyst, fire investigator, anthropologist, archaeologist, medics and the post-mortem teams.