Forensic science is a fascinating and rewarding career where the love of investigative science can be applied to the good of society, public health, and safety. It is an excellent choice for anyone with an enquiring mind, a logical and analytical approach, highly developed observational skills, objectivity and personal integrity, and the confidence to justify their findings when challenged.
Most forensic scientists in Australia and New Zealand are employed by state or territory government laboratories and police services. However, forensic or investigative scientists are also used by private laboratories and insurance companies. Many big companies also use investigative scientists for determining sources of contamination in products or product failures.
Forensic Science is not a discipline or branch of science but a catch-all for the many distinct disciplines that may be used to help in the determination of a court case, either civil or criminal.
Forensic Science and TV Crime Shows - Fiction vs Reality
Unlike fictional television characters, forensic scientists are most often confined to a particular discipline and often to a specialty within that discipline. Recent years have seen more work being undertaken at the scene and multi-disciplinary teams being involved in a triage process prior to the analysis of evidence. Generally, a forensic scientist’s evidence is a contributory part of the total evidence presented to the court from a range of other witnesses, including police investigators.
Forensic scientists must be impartial and not advocate for the defence or the prosecution.
The focus of forensic science should not be the conviction of offenders. Scientific examinations help to eliminate suspects and establish innocence. Forensic science continues to evolve and through the development of forensic science intelligence, it is now applicable to crime disruption, prevention, and detection. Forensic science also plays a pivotal role in the identification of victims in mass disasters.
Download flyer for more information.
Forensic Science Disciplines
Forensic science is a catch-all for many distinct disciplines that may be used to help in the determination of a court case. Lists of ‘forensic disciplines’ are usually a mixture of scientific fields, tasks, occupations, and services. These disciplines can be arbitrarily divided into four broad groups.
These include crime scene investigation which incorporates the investigation of crimes against the person and property, fingerprint, and firearm examination.
These include pathology, psychiatry, psychology, forensic medicine, mortuary services, odontology, anthropology, and entomology.
These include chemistry, biology, toxicology, illicit drug, document, marks, impressions analysis and computer crime.
These include computer forensics, audio video analysis, and speech and face comparison.
The National Forensic Science Technology Centre (USA) A Simplified Guide to Forensic Science provides an excellent overview of many of the topics associated with forensic science.