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Teenager starts work as unique CSI apprentice

Posted onPosted on 25th Feb

Picture the scene: There’s been a stabbing inside a house in a sleepy suburban street.

Officers are in attendance and have arrested two people in connection with the report – a victim is in hospital with serious injuries and an investigation has been launched to identify who committed the crime.

DNA samples and evidence are scattered throughout the property and the force’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit are tasked with gathering and photographing items crucial to finding who the correct suspect is.

At just 18-years-old, Louis Clark is part of this vital team.

In what is thought to be among the first opportunities of its kind in the country, Louis has just completed his first week as a CSI apprentice at Nottinghamshire Police.

Working as part of a busy team working on some of the most serious cases in the county, he admits that he still has to ‘pinch himself’ when he thinks about his new job.

“I have always been fascinated with forensics,” explained Louis, who is from Southwell.

“I finished my A-levels in biology, geography and business and managed to secure a week’s work experience in the CSI team at Nottinghamshire Police.

“From that point on I knew that policing was a route that I wanted to go down. I had such a positive experience and was made to feel so welcome by the team.

“I still have to pinch myself when I say my job is in CSI.”

Crime scene investigators roles involve securing and protecting crime scenes in order to collect and categorise evidence such as weapons, fingerprints, clothing and other biological evidence that could aid officers and detectives in investigations.

They play a vital part in the investigative process and use scientific techniques to provide critical evidence in a variety of cases including robberies, burglaries, murders and arson.

Louis came up against more than 100 applicants for the role, which understandably attracted incredibly talented and passionate candidates.

However, as experienced Crime Scene Investigator Leigh Richards explained, Louis demonstrated the star qualities required to flourish in the job.

She said: “Louis is a superstar. Despite his age, he expertly demonstrated his passion, communications skills and talent to us and we were delighted that he agreed to join the team at Nottinghamshire Police.

“This role is something completely new and gives young people with an aspiration of a career in CSI an exciting and educational route in to what is historically a hard industry to get into.

“Louis will be studying a photography apprenticeship alongside being trained as a Tier 1 Crime Scene Investigator – an industry recognised qualification that will enable him to work on lower level investigations.

“His photography apprenticeship will also be incredibly useful. Photos play a massive part in our evidence gathering process and being able to take good quality images in the right way is a vital skill for any CSI investigator.”

Louis is pleased to have achieved this opportunity at such a young age, and is keen to harness his passion for science and apply it to the world of forensics.

He said: “I am aware of how competitive it was to get this job and I am proud of the fact that I was offered it.

“But the learning starts now and I am really looking forward to exploring the role and the opportunities it will bring.

“It’s an amazing feeling to say that I work in CSI. I have always loved crime dramas and TV shows and while I am aware that the real life role isn’t quite as glamourous, I’m still so excited about what is involved.

“Being able to apply my passion for science to a role that I know will help others will feel very rewarding and that is a real positive to take from the job.”

Leigh explained that the new apprenticeship route has its advantages over traditional forensic or CSI degrees.

She said: “While a university degree in forensics is obviously beneficial to exploring a career in CSI, graduates are not always equipped with the necessary skills to start the job at an entry level and can sometimes be trained in techniques that are more advanced that the level they would join at.

“In addition to this, CSI is an incredibly competitive industry and vacancies don’t come around very often, so this route into the job is a brilliant opportunity for a young person to gain experience and training.

“This apprenticeship allows for us to train Louis to the methods we use in the industry from the very beginning which in the long term will help both the force and Louis in his CSI career.”

Louis’ apprenticeship and training are designed to enable him to apply for permanent positions within Nottinghamshire Police.

His photography apprenticeship will last 18 to 24 months. Alongside this, he will also work to complete his tier 1 CSI training, a process that lasts around six weeks.

Chief Constable Craig Guildford has welcomed Louis to the force and is proud of the opportunities available for young people at Nottinghamshire Police.

He said: “As a force, we are always looking for new talent and innovative ways to enable people from all ages and backgrounds to enjoy a career in policing.

“The apprenticeship schemes we run enable young people to get into jobs and earn while they learn, with a view to securing permanent employment in the force. To date many of them have already done so which is great news. “We already have some excellent success stories off the back of the programme, but we are always exploring new avenues to expand our recruitment as part of our commitment to being an employer of choice.

“Louis stood out among more than 100 applicants and I am delighted to welcome him to our policing family. Rather than learning about the job in a classroom, Louis will be out there doing most of it with professionals who have invaluable knowledge and experience. He will secure a qualification at the same time.

“This will not only be a benefit to Louis but will also be a real positive for Nottinghamshire Police. I am pleased that we have been able to develop and recruit to this rather unique apprenticeship role; we plan to take a second apprentice on in the autumn too.

“I am sure that the future is bright for him and I wish him all the best as he starts his career.”