A group of Swedish customs officers have become the first to undertake specialist training through the new Lancashire Forensic Science Academy.
Eight forensic officers, from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, spent five days undergoing theory and practical training at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Preston Campus and Lancashire Constabulary’s Hutton Headquarters.
The continuing professional development (CPD) course included fingerprint enhancement and recovery techniques, fingerprint photography with ultra violet light, crime scene examination, vehicle examination and enhancement of fingerprints using various chemical treatments.
Customs team-leader Aleksandar Pavkovic said: “Our job back in Sweden is all about fingerprint recovery from vehicles and narcotics to laboratory work with DNA. This course has been about continuing to develop our specialist technical skills because the last time we did anything of this kind was about seven years ago. We are trying to catch-up on forensic science in Sweden because we don’t have this kind of education and facilities back home.”
He added: “We’ve been made to feel so welcome in Preston, we’re really happy we’ve been here and we’ve learned so much. We’ve already discussed the possibility of future training courses.”
The visit occurred after UCLan academics met Aleksandar at an industry event. They kept in contact and heard of the University’s plans to offer CPD courses through the ground-breaking Lancashire Forensic Science Academy.
The Academy is a strategic partnership between UCLan and Lancashire Constabulary to enhance forensic science services. Based at Lancashire Constabulary HQ in Hutton, facilities include state of the art research laboratories, equipment, and teaching and training suites alongside crime scene houses, accommodation, and conferencing.
Plans for the Academy include providing accredited learning for forensic scientists and crime scene investigators with a view that it will attract the very best, talented students and forensic experts into Lancashire.
Kev Pritchard, Senior Lecturer in UCLan’s School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, said: “It’s a historic moment for Lancashire Forensic Science Academy with us welcoming the first group of CPD students to Preston. This course has been a great mix of us delivering academic lectures and classroom based activities while Lancashire Constabulary have been able to have input with the practical elements.
“It’s also been a two-way process as we’ve learned from them and vice-versa. It’s been interesting to see what they do differently, for example they use moulds to lift fingerprints instead of tape. CPD is a necessary part of working in forensics so we’re delighted this week has been a success and we look forward to working with others in the future.”
Rob Flanagan, Innovation Lead for Lancashire Constabulary added: "We’re excited about the future of Lancashire Forensic Science Academy, which enables us to share our extensive expertise with partners to help to deliver professional competence within forensic science and investigation.
"Lancashire Constabulary and UCLan staff have worked together on this first project with Swedish customs officers to enhance their skills and knowledge in fingerprints. By combining the skills of academia with our operational expertise we offer a unique service to assist in forensic investigation, which we hope will result in more criminal detections and safer communities for the long-term."