Gemma Maguire is a volunteer on Discovery’s COP Project working with South Wales Police on crime reduction and awareness raising campaigns in student residential areas, since April 2016.
As a result of her commitment and hard work she was offered the opportunity to do something she had always wanted to do.
This is her story.
“What an experience I have had.
Thanks to Discovery I have had a once in a lifetime opportunity. By volunteering for the COP project I was able to go on an outing with crime scene investigators, and explore three crime scenes. The day was just absolutely amazing, I kept wanting to pinch myself as I felt like I was dreaming the whole time. As I want a career within forensics this day really was a dream come true for me, and it has encouraged and motivated me even more to pursue it as I loved every single second.
Initially, I met the team in Cockett Police Station and I was shown how the system worked. We then took our work list and headed to our location, where luckily for me there was already two crime scenes! When we arrived I was told what to look for primarily in a case and what evidence we were looking for, I even got to dust for fingerprints in the first scene of crime! I was told what the equipment was for and how to use it. I was also explained that most things get sent off to the lab for chemical testing and I was briefed about the different departments involved. We then bagged the evidence and wrote up notes explaining what we had found from start to finish. I was told how important note taking is as sometimes these cases are brought to court and the investigators can be called to explain further about the evidence. At crime scene number two, we had footprints, I was allowed to help dust for prints here and I was then shown how to lift a footprint, also how to label them. In both scenes it was explained to me the importance of justifying and prioritising your evidence. As we were about to leave we were radioed another crime to investigate, however it was more straight forward than the other two. We then got back to the station where I had the chance to put into practice what I had learned. Here, I dusted and lifted a fingerprint which I then got to take home with me. I will never forget this day!
By volunteering with Discovery I have gained invaluable real life experience in a field I am passionate about, I had the chance to determine whether this was the right field for me or not, and it has definitely made my mind up about which career path I want to take and it has not changed my mind. We also spoke a lot about bodies, and I even got to view pictures from historical cases which did not put me off at all. I am now much more driven and I have an amazing experience which will also help my CV. I had really good feedback from the investigator that day too which was really motivating and I really hope that I can get another opportunity to go back for more.”