May 20, 2019
18:00 - 20:00
Speaker: Mark Spencer
Botanists have been working on crime scenes since at least the 1920s. Today, the botanical sciences have the potential to play a key role in some criminal investigations. Advances in molecular biology, especially those relating to non-human DNA, mean that investigators should be more able to use environmental trace evidence during a investigation. However, there are still significant barriers, such as cost, to its use in court. Additionally, more ‘traditional’ approaches such as vegetation fragment identification, are still valuable tools.
Unsurprisingly, the current challenges facing the UK forensics sector are evident in environmental forensics. This talk, by forensic botanist Mark Spencer, will provide an overview of how botany can be applied in the criminal environment, explore more personal observations on the strengths and weaknesses of crime scene management and suggest some options for the future.