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Scenes of crime officer

Alternative titles for this job include SOCO, crime scene investigator, CSI officer

Scenes of crime officers (SOCOs) find, record and recover evidence from crime scenes.

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter

to

£37,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

days / nights / weekends on call

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a scenes of crime officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • applying directly

University

You could do a degree in forensic science, or in a scientific subject like biological science or chemistry.

Other relevant subjects include:

  • psychology
  • criminology

Some courses are accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

Direct Application

Police services and law enforcement agencies set their own entry requirements for this type of work. In general, you'll need at least 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English, maths and a science subject.

Some employers may prefer A levels or equivalent, including a science like chemistry or biology as you'll need laboratory skills.

Many employers ask for a degree and will expect you to have experience in police work or a related field, for example intelligence gathering and analysis.

If you are already working for the Police, you may be able to do courses through the College of Policing to become a scenes of crime investigator.

More Information

Career tips

Experience of dealing with the public and working in sensitive situations will be helpful.

Qualifications or experience in photography can also be useful and may be essential for some jobs.

Further information

You can find out more about working in forensics from The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Check with your local police service for details of vacancies and entry requirements.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • customer service skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work on your own
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

For some forces you may need to undergo vetting procedures like psychological screening.

You'll usually need a driving licence.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • attend a variety of crime and other incident scenes
  • preserve and protect crime scenes
  • record scenes using photography and video
  • gather fingerprints and trace evidence
  • find, record and recover evidence like DNA samples
  • keep written records, produce statements and update information systems with evidence details
  • give evidence in court

Working environment

You could work on the streets, in a court, at a mortuary or at a police station.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding, outdoors some of the time, dirty, cramped and at height.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior or principal officer, with responsibility for managing a crime scene investigation (CSI) team.

You could also complete further training to manage investigations at major incidents.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a scenes of crime officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

BTEC Public Services

  • Provider: TOR BRIDGE HIGH
  • Start date: 05 September 2023
  • Location: Plymouth

Level 1 Public Services

  • Provider: TAMESIDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: Ashton-Under-Lyne

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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