Forensic Investigation Laboratory

The facilities are designed for training forensic science, forensic chemistry, forensic biology and forensic anthropology students in forensic examination and for training all forensic and policing students in crime scene science

The Forensic Investigation Laboratory

The laboratory contains a large range of equipment used in forensic examination including a number of items from Foster and Freeman, Leica and Nikon. This equipment is also used in professional forensic labs and so the training our students receive prepares them for work in the field.

Laboratory overview

The School’s first search and recovery laboratory was purpose built in 2001, based on the design of the Forensic Science Service (FSS) laboratories at Chorley. In 2006, a second larger laboratory was added. The laboratories are used to teach techniques and procedures for forensic analysis. Students undertake simulated casework, applying search and recovery methods to examine clothing for hairs, fibres, body fluids and other trace evidence. Laboratory-based fingerprint enhancement techniques are also taught, allowing students to experience first-hand a number of methods, including superglue fuming, ninhydrin and SPR (Small Particle Reagant).

Our laboratories are equipped with instruments and apparatus which are currently used in actual forensic casework. This includes the following:

AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System)
Following enhancement of fingerprints, you can scan your prints into the state of the art system to allow comparison with the database and subsequent analysis.

GRIM 2 (Glass Refractive Index Measurement)
Used to test known samples of glass (such as that taken by a CSI from a broken window at a burglary) and recovered glass evidence (e.g. glass recovered from a suspect’s balaclava).

ESDA and ESDA 2 (Electrostatic Detection Apparatus)
Used to detect indented impressions of handwriting (this might be a note recovered from an armed robbery at a post office stating “GIVE US THE MONEY AND YOU WON’T GET HURT”. Examination with ESDA of a notebook seized from the home of a suspect might reveal handwriting impressions for comparison).

VSC 5000 and QDX Spectral Comparators
Used to examine suspect documents, and aids in detecting alterations or forgeries, and verifying security features often placed in important documents. This is done by exposing the document to varying wavelengths of light from IR to UV.

Comparison Macroscope
Used for the examination and comparison of a range of forensic evidence, including tool mark analysis and the examination of ballistic evidence.

Comparison Microscope and stereomicroscopes
Used for the comparison and analysis of trace evidence, including hairs and fibres. We also have a range of stereomicroscopes available for use in the examination of a variety of forensic evidence.

Digital cameras and image capture equipment
High specification digital SLR cameras are available, in addition to image capture equipment to enable you to keep accurate visual records of your observations and results.

Forensic lab

Forensic lab

Forensic lab

Forensic lab

Crime Scene Houses

The Crime Scene houses are used to train students to process simulated crime scenes, initially with simple scenes followed by more complicated major incident scenarios. This includes a garage on Edward Street which contains four cars that are used to train students in vehicle examination. 

We, are proud of the fact that we were the first academic institution in the country to use crime scene houses as an essential teaching aid. The number and quality of our crime scenes are second to none. The ground floor of each scene house is essentially for teaching the ‘bread and butter’ of crime scene examination. After the first year students will venture upstairs into more serious and complicated scenes. We have many ‘environments’ within the scene houses where realism is of the utmost importance. For example in our public bar we have everything from the usual optics, pumps and bar stools down to details such as quiz flyers and bottle openers (we obviously also have a purpose built bar). 

We have several other environments in which students can practice the techniques of crime scene investigation. Once we have a realistic environment then we can place the evidence into the scenes depending on the scenario for that particular cohort of students. The crime scenes are an ongoing development and as such regularly undergo changes to their appearance. Forensic evidence types can be added or removed dependent on any given scenario.

The forensic investigation laboartory 

The forensic investigation laboartory

The forensic investigation laboartory 

The forensic investigation laboartory

The Forensic Investigation Laboratory 

The Forensic Investigation Laboratory

Key equipment available

  • 2x GRIM (inc Leica DMR microscopes)
  • 20x Nikon E200 compound microscopes
  • 10x Leica E6 stereomicroscopes
  • Projectina comparison macroscope
  • 2x Leica DMR comparison microscopes
  • ACO QDX (Questioned Document Examiner)
  • 2x Brunel Polarized light microscopes
  • Airscience superglue fuming cabinet
  • 2x ESDA
  • 10x Nikon Coolpix compact cameras
  • 14x Nikon D80 DSLR cameras
  • 3x Nikon D90 DSLR cameras
  • AFIS – Automated fingerprint identification system

Contact staff

Dr. John Lockley | Senior Technician
+44 (0)1772 89 4317 | Maudland Building MB114

Clare Bedford | Technician
+44 (0)1772 89 3235 | Maudland Building MB114

Isobel Colclough | Academic

LIS Customer Support Team
+44 (0)1772 89 5355






Maudland Building - MB117, Crime Scene Houses - 14,15 and 16 Maudland Road, Crime Garage and BPA lab – 33 Edward Street.


Official workshop hours are: 9:30 to 12.30 and 13.30 to 16:30 (in practice technicians are often available outside of these times)


Facilities are available for use by other schools and outside bodies, for example the crime scene houses and garage are regularly used for filming by media students, and for training exercises by Lancashire Police. Access can be gained by contacting Isobel Colclough