Andy Price, Crime Scene Co-ordinator
The specialism of forensics is never more heartfelt than in the devastating aftermath of a major disaster.
The day role in overseeing crime scene forensic staff in the West Midlands can swiftly change for international Major Crime Scene Coordinator Andy Price.
He is qualified in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) which means he can be called upon to assist in mass casualty scenes worldwide.
This saw him join the multi-agency operation following the devastation of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. He was part of a team that worked with, government departments, local authorities and other agencies, his main role was to help families identify and find their loved ones.
The Tsunami claimed over 275,000 including 149 Britons; Andy was called upon to utilise his expertise in fingerprint recovery to help identify some of the victims.
Andy said: "I have been involved in DVI for a number of years now and the harsh reality is you know there will be harrowing scenes.
"The aftermath of the Tsunami was probably the toughest of my professional career due to the sheer scale of devastation.
“My over-riding feeling is I want to help end the pain of not knowing; so a family can grieve.
"When I’m at a scene I have to put my emotions to one side and deal with what is in front of you; it can be days later that the reality of what you have been dealing with really hits home.
"I’m lucky in that I have a really supportive family, they keep me grounded and help with getting back into a ‘normal’ routine.”
His West Midlands Police role is as manager of a team of twelve Crime Scene Co-ordinators.
The role can be vital in capturing the critical piece of forensic evidence to offering police officers with important information to establish the circumstances of what has gone on.
Andy said: “I co-ordinate major crime scenes and when I attend a scene it is my role to ensure that we capture any forensic evidence.
“Advances in technology means that evidence can be scanned onto computers for analysis within minutes; and 3D animation can now be used to give a reconstruction of what may have happened.
“But you can’t beat experience, if a crime scene has been staged or if something doesn’t feel or look right experience really helps.
"I get a real sense of satisfaction when a piece of important evidence my team uncovers helps play a part in the conviction of a criminal - helping to keep the place we live safer. I wouldn’t swap this role for any other."