Professionalism in Crime Scene Examination: The seven Key attributes of top crime scene examiners

Sally Kelty, Roberta Julian, James Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The crime scene is a critical element of criminal investigations and where forensic science begins. Inadequately managed scenes lead to poor evidence and risk of wrongful convictions. Reports from the United States and the United Kingdom highlight that some crime scene examiners (CSEs) outperform their peers, leading to less unsolved cases. What neither report explained was why some CSEs excel. We identified the attributes of top-performing CSEs using job analytical techniques with 72 police investigators, forensic scientists, senior police managers, and 18 top CSEs from across Australia. We analyzed the data and found seven distinct critical skill sets for top performance in CSE: knowledge, life experience, professionalism, approach to life, communication, cognitive abilities, and stress management. In this paper we present the critical skills and discuss the multiple ways that top CSEs positively impact the work of criminal investigators and other CSEs, as well as the impact they have upon efficiencies within forensic laboratories
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-186
Number of pages11
JournalForensic Science Policy and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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