Did you know: Cigarette butts and sweet wrappers too could provide forensic evidence after a crime?

Ashish Badiye | Feb 6, 2017 17:06

Forensic evidence
Forensic Science (Pic source: echo.in)

Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple are surely some of the original sources of the craze that has come up for forensic science. These characters have fascinated a number of minds for years. To add to it, the crime shows on various TV channels like Criminal Minds, CSI, Bones, etc., (How can we not mention our very own CID here?) have only added to the popularity of investigative sciences like forensics and have undoubtedly added a touch of glamour and intrigue by the way they portray forensic science, but let us not think that potential careers start and end with police work. One is able to make an impression in many other job sectors too. Great emphasis is placed not only on developing the skills of forensic examination, but also on their application and on the communication of findings to the layperson. After all, law enforcement work is more than a job to most who get involved in it.

Forensic science is basically the application of various scientific methods and techniques for the purpose of justice. Forensic science often seeks to provide answers to a number of questions like – what? why? where? when? who? how? from whom? and so on. The application of science and technology, to the detection and investigation of crime and administration of justice is nothing new. Although our ancestors did not know forensic science in its present form, scientific methods in one way or the other, seem to have been followed in the investigation of crime. Criminals could escape the punishment in the ancient world on account of the absence of the standardised forensic practices. Forced confessions, witness testimony and hearsay evidences were the sole options. However, advanced methods and techniques came up with the passage of time to help facilitate the criminal justice system.

Forensic science can arbitrarily be divided into three broad groups namely -medical, laboratory and field science. Forensic medicine, psychiatry, psychology, pathology, odontology (dentistry), anthropology, entomology, etc., are the examples of medical science. Laboratory sciences include toxicology, chemistry, biology, illicit drug analysis, questioned document, cyber forensics, etc., while field sciences include crime scene investigation, which incorporates areas such as fire, arson and explosion scenes. Also, fingerprints and firearms examination are included in field sciences. Criminal investigation is not the only application of forensic science (as most of the people think). It plays an important role in various issues ranging from questions of the validity of a signature on a will, to a claim of product liability, to questions of whether a corporation is complying with environmental laws, etc. Forensic science is thus a rewarding career where the love of science can be applied for the benefit of society, public health, and safety.

Did you know that it is possible to trace your DNA from anything that you touch?

Did you know that bare footprints and palmprints are unique to you in just the same way as your fingerprints are?

Did you know that cigarette butts and even sweet wrappers found at the scene of a crime could often provide invaluable forensic evidence?

Forensic science is one of the most exciting subjects to study a subject that fascinates most of us. What makes it so exciting to study? It is probably the varied nature of the problems to be solved and the unique challenges that are posed with each and every case. Mentioned above are just a few examples of how far we have come. Realising the full potential of forensic science and crime scene investigation, law enforcement agencies and several government owned and private crime labs have come up. Presently, in India, there are seven Central Forensic Science Laboratories along with a number of state, regional, district and mobile forensic science laboratories. Now, there is an acute shortage of trained and learned forensic scientists and experts in the country. Opportunities exist in government organisations such as in the Forensic Science Laboratories, Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the CID, the crime cells of state police forces as well as in large private detective agencies and laboratories among others.

Some people may wonder if their job makes a difference or if they’re just wasting time without any self-contentment. Forensic scientists and experts need not wonder whether they are making a meaningful contribution to society or not. Their job entails such tasks, which on completion help them present their findings to police, agencies, doctors, detectives, lawyers, judges, etc., and often provide expert testimony during trials in the Hon’ble courts. As a result, forensic experts can find fulfillment in knowing that their work may be the deciding factor in determining guilt or innocence of a particular suspect.

We, at Government Institute of Forensic Science, Nagpur, are playing a leading role in nurturing young minds in this field of interest. IFSc Nagpur operates directly under The Higher and Technical Education Department of Government of Maharashtra. We offer exciting opportunities to the students who are interested in opting for a challenging career in the field, leading to the award of B.Sc. Forensic Science Degree, M.Sc. Forensic Science Degree, PG Diploma in Forensic Science and Related Law (PGDF) and P.G. Diploma in Digital and Cyber Forensic and Related law (PGDC). Under the able leadership and guidance of our Director Dr. Jairam M. Khobragade, our well equipped library with a huge range of books, laboratories, experienced and enthusiastic teaching staff, and extensive learning, support facilities in the form of regular mock crime scene demonstrations, guest lectures, seminars, educational visits to various institutions of academic importance, etc. They also provide a stimulating study environment for the benefit of our students.

For more details, visit our institute and check the link: www.ifscnagpur.in