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Crime busters

education Updated: May 14, 2013 17:52 IST


The lowdown

Forensic science involves investigating a crime by applying scientific principles. Forensic scientists use the latest technology and collect evidences such as traces of blood, saliva, hair, fingerprints, etc. These experts work closely with the police and provide evidence admissible in the court. Not only for cases related to crime, the expertise of a forensic professional can also be utilised for civil cases related to issues such as proving the validity of a signature on a will, etc. Forensic investigators work closely with the police and prepare reports after gathering evidence from the crime scene. One can find employment with law enforcement agencies, the police, and investigative services of the government. Private agencies, too, hire forensic experts. Insurance companies hire experts for document verification and fraud investigation. Some banks use the services of freelance forensic experts. A forensic expert therefore, has a lot of options to earn money.

An average day of a forensic scientist can be as follows:
6am: Wake up
9am: Check reports which have come from the lab
11am: Visit the scene of a crime to collect samples
12noon: Meet people related to the case, from the client to the police
2pm: Lunch
3pm: Get back to work, which might drag on till late

The payoff
The salaries for state forensics departments are as per government pay scales. Those doing private practice initially start by earning Rs. 6,000 a month. With experience, professionals earn Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000 a month according to the case and their expertise of case examination

* As with all professions, you need to be hard working
* Have an inquisitive mind, concern for accuracy
* Good observation skills
* Team spirit and ability to come to logical and practical conclusions by using a methodical approach
* Ability to play your cards close to your chest. Investigating and solving cases requires utmost care and you should at no point of time divulge information that can hamper the probe
* Even after solving cases, you should be able to keep things to yourself and not share facts with your peers or family

Getting there
You need to have a science background. Opt for science subjects, especially chemistry, in senior school. After graduation, you can go in for a one-year diploma courses in forensic science and criminology. You can also pursue a master’s programme in forensic science and later opt for research

Institutes and URLs
* Department of Forensic Science, Dr B R Ambedkar University, Agra
* National Institute of Criminology, Delhi
* Punjabi University, Patiala
* Amity Institute of Forensic Sciences, Noida
* Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa College, University of Delhi
* Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi
* Osmania University, Hyderabad
* Karnatak University, Dharwad

Pros and cons
n Life is interesting as you unravel mysteries
n A lot of people depend on you to solve a case
n The schedule can be tiring as it might stretch over many days
n This field is constantly evolving with development of new technology and you need to adopt new ways of investigations

Forensic science plays a pivotal role in solving criminal cases and identifying criminals. The profession of a forensic scientist is full of challenges as it includes a lot of investigation ---- Surendra Nath, retired professor of anthropology, Delhi University