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The Relationship Between Careers In Forensic Science and Criminology

Carrie Westengate

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Although forensic science and criminology are hardly new having been developed on a continual basis for a great number of years, they are now well established in many countries to aid the conviction of criminals. The two can work hand in hand to help law enforcement agencies.

Criminology can be defined as the area of science where experts study crime and criminal behaviour. Such behaviour can be affected by environmental or peer pressures. The many areas of forensic science provides support to law enforcement agencies by the careful gathering and examination of evidence that is then presented in a court of law to establish whether a crime has been committed beyond reasonable doubt.

Where criminology can suggest patterns of behaviour that lead to possible suspects, forensic science can be used to clear some individuals of any wrong doing if the evidence does not implicate them. Therefore, forensic science is used to both convict criminals by linking evidence and also clear those who are innocent and who may just have been, ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’.

Areas of criminology include but are not limited to juvenile delinquency, drugs and crime, deviant behaviour, crime prevention, statistics, penology and ‘white collar’ crimes.

Disciplines within forensic science may include; entomology, pathology, odontology, anthropology, psychology, engineering, medicine and forensic nursing, ballistics, accountants, data mining, computer science, environmental and chemistry to name but a few.

Bringing these two strong disciplines together allows scientists and law enforcement officers to piece together evidence and timelines in a scientific way to facilitate sufficient evidence to be produced in court against potential criminals. Forensic expert witnesses are often used to present such evidence in a way that the jury is able to understand what can sometimes be very difficult material to comprehend.

Embarking on a career in criminology and forensics is not always an easy one, but it does seem to be a personally rewarding one. The pay isn’t that wonderful to begin with, and the road is a long one and not for the faint hearted. Depending on your area of choice, the forensics team may have to not only be aware of some horrendous acts in the course of their duties, but will have to become deeply involved with them.

That there is tight control over the collection of evidence and supporting facts such as feasible timelines is of great importance so that a jury is convinced of guilt where it is appropriate. The scientific method used can provide the strongest possible confidence that the facts presented are correct beyond any reasonable doubt of a relationship between them and a defendant/s.

If you would like to know more about forensic job s and want to know more about the various areas and what you need to do to pursue this type of career, it is worth your while to visit for an overview and suggestions. Alternatively, have a read through some of the forensic journals that will highlight current issues and new techniques at the forefront of forensics today.


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