Six children from across the UK train with the Metropolitan Police. The cadets are being trained in crime scene examination.
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Today on Cop School, a Cop School criminal has burgled this flat.
Will the cadets be able to track him down with the help of forensics?
This is going to test crime scene examination skills to the limit.
I'm Rav Wilding, this is Cop School.
Six wannabe coppers...
meet the world's oldest police force.
Their mission - to complete a unique training course.
But are these cadets tough enough to cut it in the Met?
Last time at Cop School, the cadets trained as traffic cops...
..and had to investigate a major collision to find who was at fault.
If we need further questions, we will ask for them.
It's 8am sharp, and even though the cadets are tired,
they have to be ready to spring into action at any moment.
In this show, the Cop School cadets will be immersed
in the world of crime scene examination and forensics.
They've been told they're on their way to meet their mentor.
Which is true.
Exactly how they meet their mentor might be a bit of a surprise.
'That's because he's here - slap bang in the middle of a crime scene.
'Far from being a dead body,
'he's alive, alert and ready to put the cadets through their paces.'
CAR ALARM RINGS
Hello. Can you hear me?
You have just broken the first rule of crime scene examination.
You never, ever contaminate a crime scene.
I'm Greig Trout, a Metropolitan Police Service crime scene examiner.
Whilst you're training here, I am your mentor.
Forensics is the science behind crime solving.
Using the latest technology and examination techniques,
the police can work out exactly what took place in a crime scene
by studying the evidence that the criminal left behind.
Greig Trout's been working in forensics in the Met for six years
and has worked with the police to solve hundreds of crimes.
But can the Cop School cadets learn enough about CSE for them
to succeed in the final challenge?
Every single piece of evidence left behind in a crime scene
is crucial to the investigation.
From something the size of a human body to the tiniest hair and fibre.
And even DNA, invisible to the naked eye.
In order to avoid contaminating a crime scene,
the cadets will have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
The work of a crime scene examiner can be precise and painstaking.
You must avoid disturbing and contaminating the crime scene.
For this test, we want you to get from one end to the other,
-using these special stepping plates.
-But, as this is Cop School,
there's going to be added pressure.
You're also going to carry your forensic case with you in one hand.
You're going to work in pairs. The first pair will be Megan and Sam.
As CSEs have to be efficient and quick at crime scenes,
Greig will be timing the cadets to see who gets across the fastest.
Three, two, one.
HE BLOWS WHISTLE
'Speed isn't the only factor.'
Give me the briefcase.
'If, at any time, the cadets contaminate the crime scene
'with either their suitcases or themselves, they will be penalised.
'They must be quick, efficient and, above all, careful.
'In a real crime scene, CSEs might use these stepping plates
'to minimise the disturbance caused to the crime scene floor.'
Don't let that case touch the floor.
-Did you get it?
-'Megan's lost balance and contaminated the crime scene.
'That's unlucky.' Well done, Megan! You're nearly there now.
Remember, all of those plates have to cross the line.
-Good effort. Well done! Well done!
We slowly put it on the ground and we both slowly stepped...
-OK, Nathan, Jade. Three, two, one.
-HE BLOWS WHISTLE
Beat the time of the team in front of you.
'Having watched Megan and Sam,
'Jade and Nathan are craftily trying out a different technique.
'Although it may help them cross quickly,
'they are actually disturbing the crime scene twice as much.
'By creating two lines of stepping plates, side by side,
'Nathan and Jade are creating a wider field of disturbance.
'And possible contamination of evidence.
'Many different specialists are involved in examining the scene.
'That's why it's important there's only one route through it.'
Nearly there! You can see the tape.
'And they're across.' Nice finish! Not bad.
'Last up, it's Junior and Rebecca.'
You're not going in that crime scene till you're correctly dressed.
'And they've already contaminated the crime scene.
'It's essential their protective clothing is worn properly.'
Not a good start! 'That mistake could cost them.'
OK, come on. Catch-up that time you just lost putting your hoods up.
'Wearing the PPEs may be uncomfortable for the cadets,
'especially in such a physical challenge.'
-Keep your balance!
'But part of being a CSE is to leave no trace of yourself behind.
'Not a hair from your head or a fibre from your clothes.'
You're doing really well.
'Be careful there, Junior! Don't lose your balance.
'And it looks like Junior's shoe cover has come off.
'So close to the end. That's a schoolboy error.'
You're almost there. Last one.
I'm annoyed because my shoe came off.
-The pedals were so small, I couldn't keep both my feet in.
We did OK. We did good.
Really irritated me.
OK, guys, who's ready for some results?
-So, Megan and Sam, 3 minutes 10 seconds.
Rebecca and Junior with 2 minutes 16.29 seconds.
'That 0.29 could be important.'
Nathan and Jade, 2 minutes 16.19 seconds.
Very, very, very sad.
With the physical activities out of the way,
it's time to engage their minds.
Forensics is a test of brain power.
A CSE will have to recreate in their minds
the events that happened during the crime.
Greig has set up this fake crime scene
to introduce the cadets to the basics of CSE.
As a crime scene examiner, we attend crime scenes
from anything from a murder to a burglary.
We'll retrieve any evidence that might be there.
That evidence is labelled and bagged.
That exhibit can then be presented at court.
There are three main steps to take when entering a crime scene -
secure, spot and save.
We only want people that are involved in a crime scene going in and out.
The first thing we've got to do is secure the crime scene.
Remember we learned about contamination?
That's exactly what we're trying to do with this.
Then we'll conduct a walk through. We'll walk through the scene
and try and figure out what the suspect's movements have been.
It looks like someone's tried to find something valuable.
They've gone over there, come round here,
knocked that down and gone there.
Someone might be looking for files, like.
Anything that a CSE deems to be important to the case
must be numbered with cones.
Photograph the scene. What they've touched, what they've disturbed.
The key is to photograph the item in close-up and at a distance,
to provide as much information for the jury as possible.
Guys, well done. That's brilliant.
Forensics teams are made up of many different types of experts,
who all specialise in different areas
of retrieving and gathering evidence.
Having learned the basics in CSE, it's now time
for our cadets to delve deeper into the world of forensics.
They will now learn to retrieve the most crucial types of evidence -
evidence that will lead the suspect
to the scene of a crime and ultimately find them guilty.
Greig has split the cadets into two teams.
Team One will focus on the retrieval of tool and footwear marks.
Team Two will learn how to retrieve fingerprints, hairs and fibres.
Here we're going to make some casts of footwear marks.
It's one of the best sources of evidence we can get.
Like a fingerprint, a footwear mark has different pieces
of wear and damage in the sole of it that makes it unique to that shoe.
So we can match a suspect with a crime scene mark.
Retrieving a footprint is a little like making a cake.
It takes a specific number of ingredients
and a specific order in which to mix them.
First, a soft surface and a suspect's footprint.
Give it a coating of sticky hairspray
to help keep the shape intact.
-Add a metal dan, then combine one bag of pink plaster of Paris
with a small jug of water and mix thoroughly.
It's really mushy.
Don't let it set, Nathan.
I want to make sure it doesn't come out.
Next carefully - carefully...
cut the bag and pour the mixture into the footprint.
You never put it in properly.
I'd worry about your own, Nathan.
You know what happens to crown stone if you don't keep mixing it.
It's not come out!
-I need more water.
I think you need a bit more than that, Nathan.
While our scientific chefs wait for their shoe moulds to set,
let's catch up with Team B,
who are currently at another fake crime scene,
dusting for those all-important fingerprints.
That's really clear, Junior.
Your fingerprints are unique to you.
There are no two sets of fingerprints the same,
which means any found at a crime scene could incriminate a suspect.
This is the most important tool in your case.
It can light up anything. It reflects that finger mark right back at you.
Torch aside, you still need a keen eye, Megan.
I can't find any!
Yes, you can. Keep looking!
'Once spotted, a delicate brush with aluminium powder
'will bring that sweaty fingerprint to life.'
You might want a little bit less powder than that.
'Oh, dear, Megan.'
Next, a strip of sticky tape - minus that large air bubble, Junior -
can be used to lift the coated fingerprint from the glass.
It's then rollered onto a plastic sheet and documented.
Back with Team A, and time for the big reveal.
Very good. Nice.
-Shut up, Jade!
Now all it takes is a quick brush down
and the footwear mark is revealed.
Very good, Sam. That's a good mark.
Great cast, Jade.
Good detail, Sam. And, Nathan, maybe you'll do better next time.
OK, this method's called electrostatic lifting.
We use it for dusty marks on hard surfaces.
You can also use it on carpet. It brings up anything with dust on it.
It attaches itself to a sheet of foil
from which we can get a perfect footwear mark.
First, the CSE needs a piece of mylar foil,
cut to the size of a footprint.
Next, add an earthing plate to conduct the electricity, and a
path finder, a special instrument that supplies electrical charge.
Then switch it on.
The electricity then sucks the foil to the surface and attracts the dust
to it, producing the perfect print.
But not all the retrieval methods in CSE involve
strawberry milkshake-coloured gunge and electricity.
For some, it's simply a pair of tweezers and sticky tape.
Hairs and fibres can match a suspect's clothing
with any hairs and fibres found on a surface.
They may not look like much but under the microscope,
hair and fibres offer a
wealth of information, from the type of clothing worn to a person's DNA.
That's it. Keep going.
It's like spaghetti, isn't it?
'Sorry, guys, it may not look exciting,
'but it's a crucial part of being a CSE.
'Any one of those hairs or fibres could match
'with those taken from a suspect. So stay sharp, cadets.
'You're the brains of this outfit.
'For the final lesson of the day,
'Team A are concocting one last forensic dish.
'It's tool mark surprise.'
If you've got a burglar who's broken in through a window
-using a screwdriver or a crowbar...
-'Or a spade, Greig.'
..that will leave tiny marks on the surface that we need to get hold of.
'The cadets will need some putty, or silly putty in Nathan's case...
Everyone else gets a ball. I get a sausage!
'..some glue and some hardening gel.
'First mould a piece of Plasticine into a small dome shape
'and stick it beneath the tool mark.
'This will help catch any unwanted spillage.'
There you go, squeeze it on.
'Next, the paste. Put 40ml of glue into a small pot.'
-It looks like ice cream.
-I can assure you it's not.
-Eight drops of hardening gel...
..and mix carefully. Be careful, though.
Once the hardening gel is added, it's not long before it sets.
Where have I seen this go wrong before, Nathan?
Once thick, it's time to coat that tool mark.
Take the gloop and cover that indentation.
Apply more until the paste is set. Unless of course...
What's happening, Nathan?
'..it's already set.'
-Did you put too much of that stuff in?
If you did get it right, then once the paste is set,
it's simply a matter of carefully peeling off the mould,
checking the indentation,
and popping it in an evidence box ready to be posted to the lab.
'That was a lot to take in. You've successfully completed forensics training.'
Now it's time to select our leader.
So today's leader is going to be Junior.
13-year-old Junior from Birmingham loves playing all sports.
He's a talented drummer and definitely has the confidence.
I don't think I'm going to struggle.
I know what's coming and I'm ready for it.
But is he ready to lead a team of Cop School cadets?
While Junior loves being leader, over in a nearby neighbourhood
a crime has just been reported to the police.
I came back home as normal to find my door was open.
I found a man rifling through my things.
He ran out, dropped his sunglasses.
I looked round to see what was missing.
A necklace, laptop, wallet, watch, phone.
He'd even taken lemonade out of the fridge.
When he ran out, I never saw him again.
"Cadets, there's been a burglary at a nearby flat.
"Get to the scene of the crime as quickly as possible,
"taking everything you need to assess the scene and examine the evidence."
Got it. Thanks. Let's go.
Before they leave, it's crucial Junior makes sure
they have all the equipment they're going to need.
-Have we got the crime stone?
-It's all in there.
It's all in there. All right, let's go.
Good leadership, Junior.
With the equipment check now done, it's off to the scene of the crime.
Earlier, a Cop School criminal committed a burglary here in this flat.
As he searched the rooms for things to steal,
he left behind eight pieces of evidence
which the cadets will have to find, photograph and retrieve.
This is where they are.
On the front door, both shoe and tool marks.
In the hallway, a foot mark and some glasses.
In the kitchen, an open bottle.
In the lounge, fingerprints on the coffee table.
And in the bedroom, fingerprints on the window ledge
and fibres on the chair.
But will they remember everything they've been taught by mentor Greg?
Come on, guys.
Team leader Junior has split them into teams of two,
allocating different roles to each pair.
Acting as senior forensic practitioners are Megan and Rebecca.
They're responsible for spotting and marking evidence
and, later, dusting for prints.
Sam and Nathan are the assistant forensic practitioners
and will be retrieving tool marks and shoe marks.
Jade and Junior will be the photographers.
Come on, let's go. Let's go to work, come on.
Both myself and mentor Greg
will be keeping a very close eye on the cadets.
There's a camera in every room of the flat,
so from here, we can see every element of the cadets' search.
First into the crime scene are Megan and Rebecca.
Hopefully they've learned to be careful when they go into the scene.
Secure it. Figure out what evidence they're going to get.
OK, it's safe to stand here.
Watch where you're stepping, though.
Good call, Megan.
There's an important piece of evidence right beside your foot.
Let me know everything...
But they've walked straight past it.
That footprint could be a clue as to how the criminal entered the flat.
There's a broken, shattered glass beside the window.
-How does it look? Is it outside or inside?
-Is it the window glass?
Junior is thinking the criminal may have broken into the flat through the window.
Does it look like someone's come through there?
No, the window's shut and the curtains are closed over,
-so he couldn't have got through the window.
It's a logical guess, but it's not right.
The glass is from an empty vase knocked over by the Cop School criminal.
Moving into the bedroom.
The curtains are all crumpled up and the window is open.
That's a good spot from Megan.
The Cop School criminal was here
and he did leave valuable evidence behind.
This is the lounge.
So... There's fingerprints on the glass table in the lounge.
Fingerprints on the table.
"Put a cone on it."
-"Already done. Over."
You're doing a very good job. Carry on. Don't miss anything.
-Morale-boosting the troops, that's what we like to see.
Fantastic work, Junior.
They said that the victim dropped something,
so I'm wondering is there anything dropped?
Good question, Junior. He's referring to the sunglasses
the witness said the criminal dropped.
Found a man rifling through my things.
He ran out, dropped his sunglasses on the way.
It looks like Rebecca has found them.
"We have a pair of sunglasses."
Put a cone on it.
Those sunglasses could provide vital DNA if it can be retrieved later on.
It's not a bad effort from our senior forensic practitioners.
So, they've found three crucial bits of evidence.
Fingerprints in the lounge,
fingerprints in the bedroom,
sunglasses in the hallway.
But they're still missing five other pieces of evidence,
including that footprint right in front of the door.
Will the cadets spot it?
Here come the photographers.
Jade's straight in there, taking photographs of the sunglasses but...
The footwear mark - doesn't look like it's been spotted.
And unfortunately, Junior's just stood right on top of it.
Not the greatest start.
"Taking a picture of the table."
Make sure you take a picture wide and take a picture zoomed.
That's good to hear. Nathan's reminding the photographers
of the importance of the long lens and the close-up pictures.
Looks like Jade's on to something.
We found an open substance in a glass bottle
and we found a few open wine bottles.
Didn't the victim say that he never opened a bottle?
Did he say that he never opened any drinks?
Rebecca's saying take pictures of the bottles.
Outstanding communication from the cadets -
and they're absolutely right.
It WAS the Cop School criminal
and this bottle is a solid piece of evidence.
It looks as though our forensic photographers might be on a roll.
Yep. Look, can you see that glimpse of hair there?
We found some hair in the bedroom on the seat.
What room is that in?
The Cop School criminal did sit in this chair.
That's one of the most difficult spots to find.
Sam's going to go in. Is that OK?
Yeah, no problem.
On the way back, look for any footprints that we can see, OK?
We'll take a picture.
In the hallway now.
See if they notice the footwear mark.
Here we go. They're taking a picture.
Finally, that elusive footwear mark.
Better late than never.
They got it and they're taking photos.
We want to see it lifted now.
Well done, photographers. You've done a great job.
So now with six pieces of evidence marked and photographed,
it's the job of the retrieval team -
made up of Sam, Nathan, Megan and Rebecca -
to go into the crime scene and extract that evidence.
However, they still need to be observant.
Let's go to the living room.
There are still two more pieces of evidence they haven't found.
Megan and I are in the living room.
Megan's taking fingerprints on the glass table.
I'm going to check for hairs on the sofa.
This will be a big test for Megan,
as she didn't do all that well at fingerprint retrieval in training.
Over with Sam and Nathan, their test is what they can remember
from foot mark retrieval.
They're going to do the electrostatic lift
of the footwear mark that they've got on the hallway.
They've got the foil down, the earthing plate
and now the path finder.
Nice and slow.
Very impressed with them so far.
It's a very technical procedure.
Make sure you don't touch the metal.
a question of whether it's lifted the mark or not. It's looking good.
-Think that's worked?
Great retrieval, guys.
If the police find the suspect, this could help convict him.
Back in the living room, it looks like Megan is about to do exactly the same.
We've got three fingerprints.
She's got it. That to me is very nice. That's so clear from here.
Megan's retrieved those fingerprints perfectly.
If there's a match on the database,
the police will know exactly who to arrest.
You're doing a very good job.
Junior and his team of forensic practitioners have stepped it up a gear.
What about the dirt?
Sam has found the footwear mark on the door,
which should lead him to the tool marks, too.
What about this? This is a bit...
He's had a go with the tool, hasn't he?
It has. Congratulations, cadets.
That's all eight pieces of evidence discovered.
Now the cadets must retrieve as much of the evidence as they can
with what little time remains.
I think I've got a fingerprint on the metal bit of the window.
-That's brilliant work.
-'That's another essential find from Megan.'
Got a fingerprint in the bedroom on the windowsill.
If these fingerprints match the ones in the lounge,
the evidence will be stacked up against the suspect.
I've done it.
Just seeing how Sam... He looks a bit nervous
but he's taking off his tool mark.
-I think it's hard enough. It won't get harder.
-The clock is ticking.
Got some of it.
He's got it and in one piece. He's done a good job.
-Looks like it from here.
-It looks like it set very nicely.
Guys, quickly. We've only got one minute left.
With time almost up, Megan packages up another great set of fingerprints.
The cadets can be happy with their performance
as they managed to spot all eight pieces of evidence
and retrieve five.
-Great, guys. Well done.
-Well done, everyone.
Despite failing to retrieve evidence from the bottle in the kitchen,
the chair in the bedroom and the sunglasses in the hall,
Megan's excellent fingerprint retrieval
led to a positive match in the Cop School database,
so it won't be long before this known criminal is back behind bars.
OK, Greg. They all did well on that challenge, it's fair to say.
But some stood out a little bit more. Let's start with Megan.
She did really well. She found the fingermarks on the table,
the fingermarks on the windowsill.
She was really thorough in how she retrieved and examined them.
-He did really well.
He asked questions of everyone.
He delegated responsibility.
He made sure everyone was all right, which was a great way
of keeping his team's morale going and keeping them on track.
Someone else who did a good job was Sam.
He was fantastic. Really good.
He retrieved the footwear mark using the electrostatic lifting technique.
He also did the tool mark on the door perfectly.
This has been a very tough decision, but Greg and I have made it.
We've decided that today there are in fact going to be two top cops.
Now, those top cops are going to have
a smashing time destroying some of the CSE sugar glass.
There will be a punishment for the rest of you.
That will be cleaning out the CSE van.
-Which is a mess.
So the two top cadets for today are...
And Sam. Well done.
Next time at Cop School,
the cadets deal with virtual crowds in public order.
There's lots to shout about in training.
And they control a Cop School riot that gets out of hand.
Remember, this is sugar glass so don't try this at home.
Go on, Megan.
Go on, Sam. Go on!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media
Email [email protected]
The cadets are being trained in crime scene examination. Lifting fingerprints, hairs and fibres, electrostatic footwear lifts and toolmark casting - they have to master all these techniques and more, in time to successfully carry out a forensic search following a Cop School burglary. Wearing full forensics PPE suits, the heat is really on - so who will their mentor Rav Wilding decide is the top cop?