Uncovering the truth: Meet Helen Higgins, Crime Scene Investigator

Helen Higgins - Forensic Science

USW Forensics lecturer Helen Higgins has worked as an Assistant Forensic Scientist for the Forensic Science Service specialising in DNA. As an experienced Crime Scene Investigator, she has been involved in investigating a range of cases from theft and sexual assault to murder.

How did you get into it?
I studied a degree in Forensic Science and went on from there.

Tell us a bit about the role of a Crime Scene Investigator
The role of a Crime Scene Investigator is to attend crime scenes to methodically search for and record evidence to help solve a crime.  This evidence may include fingerprints, DNA, footwear marks, fibres or tool marks amongst other types. They then go on to process this evidence and send it to the relevant departments for further examination.  In addition to this, CSI’s produce written witness statements and attend court to give evidence. CSI’s may also attend Post Mortem examinations.

What do you enjoy about it?
It is challenging, rewarding and inspiring. The part I most enjoy about the role is the variety as no two days are the same. I feel fortunate to work in a field that I am passionate about and that continues to inspire me.

Who are your heroes?
I don’t have any ‘real life’ heroes, but the closest to a hero I can think of is the fictional character, Quincy M.E.  I grew up watching his programmes and aspired to be his female equivalent.  Who wouldn’t want to be?  He solved all the cases virtually single handedly and lived on a boat!

What to read before class...
Forensic Science by Jackson & Jackson.

Advice to people considering a Forensic Science degree?
A career in Forensic Science is exciting, challenging and continually evolving. It is not something that will happen overnight and will require patience, determination and hard work. If it’s something that you really strive for, you will succeed.