Scenes Of Crime Officer

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

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


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO), also known as a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI), typically involves a combination of educational qualifications, skills, and training. While there are no specific subjects required, you should focus on subjects that build a strong foundation for a career in forensic science and crime scene investigation. Here are some subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. Science (Biology and Chemistry): A strong understanding of biology and chemistry can be extremely useful in forensic science. These subjects provide a foundation for understanding evidence analysis and crime scene investigation techniques.
  2. Mathematics: Math skills are important for interpreting data and measurements, which are crucial in forensic analysis.
  3. Physics: Physics principles can be applied in areas like ballistics and accident reconstruction.
  4. English Language: Effective communication is essential in documenting and reporting on crime scenes.
  5. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Knowledge of technology and digital evidence handling is increasingly important in modern forensic science.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • applying directly


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

Other relevant subjects include:

  • psychology
  • criminology

Direct Application

Police services and law enforcement agencies set their own entry requirements for this type of work. Some employers may prefer you to have studied subjects 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.

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.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 35-40 hours of work. You could be required to work days/nights/weekends on call.

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 & 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.