In conversation with ...
Malika O'Neill, the story .
Continuous Professional Development .
The Lancashire Forensic Science Academy (LFSA) is a pioneering collaboration between the Lancashire Constabulary, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). Continuous education and professional development, research projects, forensic science support and operational excellence, and competencies-enhancement training ... just a few areas the Academy continuously raises the bar of quality across the industry. The offering of CPD courses to policing has gained over the years genuine support from loyal partners, customers and delegates. Some of which share their experience at the Academy. Let us introduce Malika, who completed her crime scene investigation training firstly as a newcomer to the profession and recently as a fully trained at the second stage of CSI course that equips professionals with an unbeatable level of knowledge, confidence and stamina to perform admirably day-to-day duties.
The Academy is home to forensic laboratories that are operationally used by police forces and having practitioners teach at UCLan as well as at the Academy the learning experience is rooted in real-life cases, work-related challenges and first-hand experience.
Let's meet Malika who completed her training with the Academy and shares her experience.
I attended the CSI Stage 1 course in January 2020 as an assistant crime scene investigator, with other colleagues from Merseyside Police. The course was extremely informative and provided me with the fundamental skills needed, to be able to confidently examine volume crime scenes back in force. Although the photography portfolio was arguably the most intense part of the course once I completed it I realised it was one of the most beneficial parts. Photography is one of the most nerve-wracking and pressurising parts of the job especially when something isn’t going right and you don’t know how to fix it. By spending a lot of playing with the camera and experimenting with different scenarios it gave me the confidence to know how to fix any problem back in force. I still look back over my portfolio now to remind myself of camera settings for different scenarios! This was the first time I met Caroline and Ali and I couldn’t have asked for better trainers. They were the perfect balance of professionalism as well as making you feel like you had a friend and support system for life.
I was then promoted to crime scene investigator in March 2021 and attended the Stage 2 course in April 2021 with two other colleagues. It was clear that the level that the trainers went to set up this course for us was evident. We had theory sessions which they did their best to keep interactive by getting real-life experts to present to us and inform us on case studies they have worked on. This was one of the best parts for me as it is not often we get to have long in-depth chats with experts as usually we only meet under high-pressure scenarios at the scene. Therefore we had lots of time to ask questions and build our knowledge to improve ourselves as CSI’s. We had many practical sessions where a variety of crime scenes were set up for us to virtually examine which we were then given feedback on. This was fantastic as a lot of scenes I had not yet attended so it gave me confidence in knowing where to start when returning to force. After each practice, we had discussions as a group which allowed us to get further insight into how others make decisions as well as things such as evidence recovery plans. This was extremely beneficial as decision making is one of the most fundamental parts when progressing to a Crime Scene investigator from a Volume crime scene investigator.
"The course was extremely informative and provided me with the fundamental skills needed, to be able to confidently examine volume crime scenes back in force. "
"I believe that this course boosted my confidence for returning to force and encouraged me to believe in myself when making decisions at scenes, as well as providing me with the skills needed to be a competent CSI."
As a final note, I have to comment on
how great Ali and Caroline are as people as
well as trainers. We were also introduced
to Chris on the Stage 2 course as
one of our trainers and he was just as great as Ali and Caroline.
All three of them made us feel comfortable and confident to come to them if we had any issues or concerns. I could not thank all three of them enough for the support they’ve given me over both courses and deserve so much credit for the work they’ve put in, especially for pushing us along when we felt like giving up!
Malika G. O'Neill
The skills that the Academy continuously direct its focus on are related to enhancing the professional competencies of operationally active forensic practitioners. This fundamental skill set impacts the way day-to-day duties are managed, performed and approached. Confidence is critical to perform well in the place of work and outside. Many of our students and delegate are already in a job or consider entering the profession that requires skills they don’t have or are less experienced than those around. Some of them may feel uneasy about their abilities to succeed as well as might struggle with the threat of public humiliation and errors in judgment. Our CPD courses are designed with elevating professional confidence in mind and train the new level of professionals whose sense of challenge and personal development together with confidence is their most attractive personal brand attribute.
At Lancashire Forensic Science Academy a team of operationally active practitioners within the field of forensic sciences share their regularly tested and examined knowledge with the new generations of professionals during bespoke professional development courses, training options and workshops. The idea of continuous learning shines a new light on the concept of education experience. Learn more about courses, training and other initiatives and projects the Academy undertakes.