Team visit to Forensic Science Service Laboratories, Chorley

On this evening fifteen team members journeyed to the Washington Hall, Euxton offices of the Home Office Forensic Laboratories at Chorley, where we were given unique access to the complex, following months of gaining the necessary clearances and permissions, aided by the fact that team member Gyles Denn, a Forensic Toxicologist at the FSS could vouch for the team members, and the staff there felt we had much to learn from a visit.
All Bolton team members undergo Crime Scene Awareness training, very important given the nature of some of the work we are involved in, and this trip to Chorley built upon this for those with some previous knowledge, and was an eye opener for those newer members with little or no previous knowledge.
The teams thanks are extended to the many staff and instructors at Washington Hall, who so freely gave up their evening to train the team members present, via a mocked up scene, ( outside, no cosy indoors for us ), and which also included a tour of some of the various laboratories at the complex.
There follows a personal account of the visit, by team member Louise Jorgensen.

Once installed with tea and biscuits, we were given a talk on the work of the Forensic Science Laboratories, initially focusing on the work of the scenes of crime analysts and how we can practically assist them on the preservation of any scene of crime to enable them to retrieve the maximum amount of evidential material. Actual case examples were used to highlight issues, including some cases in which team members had been involved in a search capacity (…. And one team member as a fingerprinted suspect!!! I hasten to add, he was a totally innocent bystander who had simply parked his car next to the undiscovered body!!!)

We then went off outside to a ‘murder scene’ and, with the aid of our magnum lights and blue tape, the scene was preserved and a practical session on forensics ensued. We tried our hands ourselves at spotting the important material and then were talked through the scene. It did highlight the necessity for a highly disciplined approach should a MFH be found deceased during a search, reinforcing the training that is received on the Party Leaders course.

Back into the warm and we were taken for a ‘Quincy Tour’ – a behind the scenes tour of the Labs and work rooms where all the time consuming, meticulous work is done to make sure correct interpretations are made from the often confusing events that occur during crime. All in all, a very interesting, enjoyable evening was had by all. Many thanks to the staff of the lab who made this possible!!