Crime investigation fascinates learners

2015-04-30 16:13


– Learners of the Tlokola Secondary School in Moemaneng near Marquard were recently educated about crime investigation by the Ficksburg police and members of the Bethlehem Forensic Services.

WO Maki Likhethe explained that different kinds of evidence are collected from different crime scenes for analysis.

Fingerprints are for instance lifted using scotch tape, fluorescent magnetic powder and magnetic brushes.

The learners were amazed at the finger prints that were lifted from the A4 paper that had been used in their class.

Likhethe said the biology section was responsible for the analysis of evidential material of biological origin like bodily fluids, human tissue and hair.

“Blood and human tissue are mostly collected from murder scenes, hence the scene must not be contaminated by walking on and removing anything that might be used to connect the suspect with the crime,” Likhethe said.

“Semen, hair and fingernail scrapings of the rapist are removed from the rape victim, therefore we always urge the victims not to wash themselves.

“Victims are reminded that they must report the rape within 72 hours so that they can receive a tablet that prevents sexually transmitted diseases.

“This section also does facial reconstruction and individualisation when the flesh of the deceased has decomposed beyond recognition or when a human skeleton needs to be identified.”

Likhethe said firearms confiscated from crime scenes and illegal firearms found with suspects were put through ballistic analysis.

“Each and every firearm leaves a special mark on the projectile after a shot has been fired. The mark will be used to link it to the serial number of the firearm, which will also reveal the firearm licence holder.

“The firearms must be kept inside a locked safe that is built into the wall, or be in the holster of the firearm licence holder all the time.”

Learners agreed to report anyone who is in possession of an illegal firearm to the police.

Likhethe said police investigators always enforced health and safety measures at the scene of a crime and requested the learners, as members of the community, to stay away from these, because they may be exposed to hazards like chemicals, biological material such as blood, or explosives.

“Sometimes criminals may still be at the scene and can cause members of the community harm,” Likhethe elaborated.

“All physical evidence collected from the scenes is handed to police forensic scientists for analysis. They study and ­interpret it according to ac­ceptable scientific principles to bring criminals to justice and protect innocent people from prosecution.”

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