Forensic scientists apply scientific procedures and techniques to the examination of potential evidence that may assist in legal investigations.
Duties & Tasks
Forensic scientists may perform the following tasks:identify illicit drugs
analyse drugs and poisons in human tissue and body fluids, including blood alcohol results
examine and compare materials such as fibres, paints, cosmetics, oils, fuels, plastics, glass, metals, soils and gunshot residues
examine human and animal biological material to be compared with victims and suspects using DNA profiling
conduct botanical identification of plant materials at trace levels and whole-plant identification (cannabis, for example)
conduct document examinations, both physical (such as handwriting and typewriting) and chemical (such as analysis of inks and papers)
analyse computers and obtain data from other electronic devices such as mobile phones
examine crime scenes
identify firearms and ammunition (forensic ballistics)
detect, enhance, recover and identify latent fingerprints, footprints, tool marks, shoe marks, tyre marks and tracks
examine fire and explosion scenes to establish the origin and cause
improve the clarity of, and analyse, audio and video recordings
produce reports, appear in court and present scientific and/or opinion testimony accurately and in a manner that is readily understood by the court
make presentations to a variety of audiences on the work of forensic scientists
keep in contact with, and provide advice to, police investigators, legal practitioners, scientists and pathologists across a broad range of disciplines.
A wide range of expertise is required for forensic investigations. A forensic scientist may specialise in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, botany, pharmacology, toxicology, crime scene examination, firearms examination, fingerprint or document examination.
good communication skills
able to remain unbiased in the examination of potential court evidence
meticulous and capable of clear, logical and lateral thinking
able to work as part of a team
initiative and motivation
able to persevere
good observation skills.