Students turn sleuths on forensics day

The remains of a human skull, unidentified bullet holes and dusting for fingerprints - it sounded like an episode of the popular drama Crime Scene Investigation.

The remains of a human skull, unidentified bullet holes and dusting for fingerprints - it sounded like an episode of the popular drama Crime Scene Investigation.

But teenage students studying at a Norfolk college were in fact practising their forensic skills as part of a course to improve their teamwork skills.

Their challenges during the course have included identifying fingerprints, taking tyre marks and trying to identify details about the skull which they 'found' on the site of Paston College, in North Walsham.

Run by a former detective chief inspector from the Met, the course also studied ballistics and chromatography, which is the separating out of ink to work out which pen was used to write certain notes.

Steve Gaskin, who is also a qualified secondary school maths teacher, said the study methods were designed to be engaging and fun, while delivering a serious message about teamwork and the working environment.

Yesterday Mr Gaskin, who runs a company called Right Angled Crime Scene Investigation, had students from Broadland and Cromer high schools on the course.

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“Even with disruptive students this has been a superb way of grabbing the attention,” he said.

“It's a novel approach and our company is the only one in the UK to do it.

“We get them to do a range of things in teams, from analysing a blackmail note to working out the age of the child whose skull they have found.

“All the kit we use is the real thing, from the ballistics kit to the lab coats and the chromatography equipment.”

Toby Mortimer and Justin Waller, both 15-years-old and from Cromer and Broadland high schools respectively, explained some of the challenges they had to undertake yesterday.

“We have taken fingerprints and we have to work out the age of the person's skull and how long it has been there,” said Toby.

And Justin said: “There are the remains of gunshots which we have to study and work out the angle the bullet went in and the distance they were fired from.”

Both agreed the course was “far better than school”.

The course is run as part of the college's Increased Flexibility Programme.

www.rightangledcsi.co.uk