Identifying the Critical Skillset of Top Crime Scene Examiners: Why This Matters and Why Agencies Should Develop Top Performers.

Sally Kelty, Olivier Ribaux, James Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Processing a crime scene is complex. When scenes are processed well, higher
quality specimens can be detected and collected. Inadequately managed scenes
increase risk of ineffective investigations and poorer justice outcomes. Government reports from around the world have stated that some crime scene examiners outperform their peers. If processing a crime scene is vital for optimal
outcomes, then who should we employ, and train, for this complex and challenging role? What skills do they need? In 2010, the seminal work into the
technical and non-technical skills of top crime scene examiners commenced in
Australia. This team used empirical techniques from occupational psychology
and business management to identify a cluster of 7 key cognitive, social, leadership skills, and technical/scientific knowledge to develop a profile of top
crime scene performers. This work was published in a series of papers between
2012 and 2017. In 2023, the original work was combined with current international empirical findings to build a robust, comprehensive, and more generalizable picture of the holistic skillset of top crime scene examiners. The
rationale for developing a skillset is to assist forensic agencies to create
targeted recruitment procedures and inform the content of early career training
programs for their crime scene teams. With recruitment and training done
well, organizations are better placed to attract, develop, and retain personnel
with potential to excel in complex roles. When top examiners attend scenes, it
is possible the risk of poorer justice outcomes arising from crime scene work
could be reduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Forensic Science
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023


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