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School of Science, Engineering & Design

Student views

Charmaine Bale

Charmaine is a crime scene investigator for Gwent Police

Charmaine Bale

Graduated with honours in applied science and forensics, class of 2002

‘I lift fingerprints, photograph and examine for trace evidence.’

I have been working with Gwent Police since 2004 within the CSI department and it is generally enjoyable, despite recent budget cuts to public services. I’ve completed the accredited crime scene examiners course at the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) in Durham and have been involved in many types of cases.

When I graduated there were fewer forensic degrees available and mine definitely helped me to secure employment. Most UK CSI staff are now expected to gain a foundation degree in crime scene investigation through NPIA, along with the other required NPIA courses such as fire investigation and CSI management.

My degree course content has been extremely useful in my role – from helping officers with drink-drive paperwork and calculations to post-mortem duties. When I first started in my role, I found information from my crime scene investigation module helped me with the practical tasks, such as lifting fingerprints, photography and examining basic crime scenes, allowing me to concentrate on other force procedures.

Within my current role in crime scene investigation, I would like to aim for a management role, becoming proficient in all areas of scene examination. I’d also like to move into a teaching position as I really enjoyed the mentoring and ambassador roles I held at the University.

I loved Teesside. It was away from home, but the accommodation was cheap compared to other areas and the course I choose was very good. The Students’ Union provided brilliant entertainment and I enjoyed the clubs and societies. I loved the campus – within a town and yet slightly separate from it.

I thoroughly enjoyed my course, mainly because we had lots of d