Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Forensic science simulator opened by Bernard Knight

Training in the Scene of Crime Officers
Students can learn the latest forensic science techniques

A forensic science simulator where crime scenes can be 'mocked up' is to be opened by Wales' best known forensic pathologist, Professor Bernard Knight.

The University of Glamorgan simulator, which resembles an ordinary house, lets students recreate CSI-style complex forensic scenarios.

Prof Knight said Wales could lead the way in training the next generation of scenes of crime officers.

The building has been named after Prof Knight, who is also a crime novelist.

Since 1965 he has conducted more than 25,000 autopsies, and his evidence has helped convict some of Britain's most notorious murderers, such as Fred and Rosemary West, and Mary Bell.

Speaking ahead of the official launch of the Bernard Knight Scene of Crime building, Prof Knight said: "It is both an honour and something of a novelty to have a building named after me."

Sir Bernard Knight
The abiding memories of my 40 years in forensic pathology seems to be mainly of standing over corpses in muddy ditches or on freezing hillsides at three in the morning
Bernard Knight

Prof Knight, from Cardiff, is well known as a prolific and celebrated crime writer. As well as penning the award-winning series of Crowner John novels, He was the creator of the grandfather of all forensic science television drama, 1970s The Expert.

The Bernard Knight Scene of Crime Building has been built to look like a normal house, but can be configured to enable lecturers to reconstruct a variety of suspicious and unexplained deaths.

Students, kitted in crime-scene barrier outfits, will have to measure and interpret blood spatter, hunt for DNA deposits and conduct finger-tip searches for trace evidence such as hair and clothing fibres.

Prof Knight said: "There is definitely a phenomenon which has come to be known as the CSI effect. Nowadays we all feel that we're experts on DNA, finger prints and trace evidence, and in some ways it's causing a bit of a problem.

Scenes of Crime house
Built to look like a normal house, it can reconstruct suspicious and unexplained deaths

"Jurors expect more categorical proof than science will allow for, and criminals are better prepared than ever before."

He added: "That's why facilities like this are so vital in furthering the science and enabling the next generation of forensic examiners to stay that crucial step ahead of the bad guys.".

Currently the University of Glamorgan's Scene of Crime degree is the only course of its kind in Wales to be accredited by the Forensic Science Society.

Prof Knight said that Wales could lead the way in training the next generation of Scene of Crime Officers. He said: "The abiding memories of my 40 years in forensic pathology seems to be mainly of standing over corpses in muddy ditches or on freezing hillsides at three in the morning, anywhere from Devon to Dyfed.

"Attending a crime scene, however unattractive, is a vital part of the investigation and I am pleased to see a custom-built unit devoted to this important function."



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