Cyber specialists get the legal treatment at USW

Sharan Johnston cross-examining the computer forensics during the special training event at USW. Neil Gibson, April 2017

Sharan Johnston cross-examining the computer forensics students during the special training event at USW.

Think of cyber crime, and you may well think of computers.

But 24 students at the University of South Wales (USW) have been learning that a career in computer forensics isn’t just about learning techy skills.

During a specially-arranged simulation event, the group – who are studying the Team Evidential Management module – used a number of the crime simulation facilities available at USW.

Taught by computer forensics lecturers Sharan Johnstone and Dr Ross Davies, the second year students are taken through the full process of collecting evidence, from a crime scene to appearing at a court trial.  

Computer forensics during the special training event at USW.

The students carrying out forensic enquiries at USW Crime Scene House.

“During the module they are taught all legal aspects of crime scene management and evidence acquisition,” said Mrs Johnstone.

“The process starts with applying for a search warrant, following the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act, and then surveying and seizing the evidence at USW’s specialist Crime Scene House on USW’s Glyntaff campus.

“They then look at the evidence in a specialist lab, and we teach them how to forensically analyse evidence and prepare an expert witness report which they ultimately present in court.”

“Here they are taught how to withstand cross examination, and court room etiquette.”

The students also get two days of specialist training from expert witness trainers Bond Solon, who teach them how to write reports and present evidence.  

“The process is designed to give the students an understanding of what is needed from professionals in computer forensics, and give them the detailed knowledge of the processes of working on criminal investigations,” Dr Davies added.  

“At the end of the computer forensic course the students have highly sought after industry-recognised qualifications, which future employers know put them at the top of the game when it comes to getting jobs after finishing university.”



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