After a voluntary summer placement led to the offer of a permanent position, Harley encourages other aspiring forensic investigators to gain as much experience as possible
How did you get your job in forensic investigation?
During my second year at university, I saw and applied for an opportunity of a voluntary summer placement in the forensic department of my local police force. I was invited for interview and fortunate to be offered the position.
I was placed in the forensic scene investigation department (FSI) where I worked several days a week over the summer. By the time I went back to university, I was offered a paid job as a forensic assistant in the fingerprint bureau. I worked there for a further six months while I finished the last year of my degree.
At this stage, I saw an FSI vacancy on the police vacancies online site of the same force. I applied for the job and was fortunate enough to be offered it first time. I then had my FSI job lined up for as soon as I finished university, and I started in the role the week after I finished my last exam - something I will always feel proud of.
What are your main work activities?
My main tasks involve examining volume crime scenes such as burglary residential, burglary non-residential, criminal damage and stolen vehicles.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy representing the UK police force and like the satisfying feeling that comes from providing a good service to the public. In this role, I get to help and reassure members of the public during their most vulnerable times.
What are the challenges?
The most challenging thing about this job is that it pushes you to step out of your comfort zone and teaches you to be okay with doing so.
Is your degree relevant? If so, how does it help you?
I have a first-class BSc (Hons) in forensic science, which has given me a great foundation of knowledge in forensic science. The job now allows me to expand on my theoretical knowledge and apply that information in the practical world.
What are your longer-term career ambitions?
I'm unsure what my long-term career ambitions are this early on in service. However, I'll be keeping my options open to all the opportunities that may become available to me in the future within the forensic services department.
What advice can you offer someone who wants to get into this job?
I would say if you want to become a forensic scene investigator you should grab every opportunity for any kind of experience, whether paid or voluntary.
It's important to see the bigger picture and although it can be a difficult choice between getting paid and gaining relevant experience, I can now say that the experience for me has proved invaluable.