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Suspects, secrets and lies

12th September 2014

North East teenagers learned forensic investigation skills to investigate a ‘whodunit’ crime scene at Northumbria University, Newcastle this week.

‘Suspects, Secrets and Lies’, a one-day event, saw the University work with Northumbria Police to demonstrate the reality of crime detection and forensic science to students from five colleges.

Teenagers from Benfield School, Durham Sixth Form Centre, Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Burnside College, Kenton School and Ashington High School were given a unique insight into forensic science, how crime is represented by the media, and how evidence is used in sentencing.

The event was delivered through a fun and educational role-play scenario combining an engaging ‘whodunit’ storyline that gave pupils the chance to try out real forensic techniques, gather evidence, and even play out a mock courtroom scene.

Sessions led by University and Northumbria Police experts included suspect interviews, mobile phone forensics and how to make a news programme and report the news in Northumbria’s TV studio.

Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Engagement at Northumbria University, said: “This fun and informative session gives young people an opportunity to go ‘behind the scenes’ and see how crime investigations take place.

“From analysing mobile phones and dusting for fingerprints to seeing the court case play out in the media, the Suspects, Secrets and Lies event highlights the expertise of our forensic scientists as well as the processes employed by the police.

“At a time when forensic science is glamourised in popular culture and TV dramas, such as CSI and Silent Witness, it is important that people planning to go into this field of study are aware of the realities of criminal investigative work.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Northumbria Police to offer this experience to young people.”

Northumbria University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate forensic science degree programmes. For more information, visit

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