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Crime fighters hone skills in forensic hub

Date

Christopher Knaus

University of Canberra, forensic labs technical officer, Shirani Katupitiya, works in the lab.

University of Canberra, forensic labs technical officer, Shirani Katupitiya, works in the lab. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Canberra's position as a hub of forensic investigations has been bolstered by the signing of a five-year deal between police and two academic institutions.

A unique deal between the Australian Federal Police, the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology has been signed to help enrich forensic research in the territory.

The agreement will continue a close partnership between the three organisations, which has achieved huge successes over the past five years.

University of Canberra Honors student James Grech, works in the lab following the announcement of a partnership between the UC, CIT, and AFP.

University of Canberra Honors student James Grech, works in the lab following the announcement of a partnership between the UC, CIT, and AFP. Photo: Rohan Thomson

It has seen 240 forensic investigators from Iraq trained in cutting-edge forensic techniques.

The partners have trained forensic specialists from other foreign police forces, including Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand.

University of Canberra head of forensic studies Professor Chris Lennard said the partnership had helped foster a hub of forensic expertise and research in Canberra.

''It's true to say this is a very, very rare agreement anywhere in Australia. I'm not aware of any other university programs or police agencies that are involved in this type of agreement,'' he said.

''I think there's a fairly unique agreement that forms this ACT-based [forensics] hub, so I think it is significant in that respect.''

Professor Lennard said the collaboration between policing and academic institutions would greatly benefit forensics students studying in Canberra, such as University of Canberra honours student James Grech.

''We involve members of the AFP in our courses as well, so the student gets exposed to not only the great facilities, but also a significant range of expertise,'' Professor Lennard said.

The agreement was first formally established in 2007.

It incorporates experts from a wide range of forensic fields, including crime scene examination, forensic biology and chemistry, expert witness training and fingermark detection techniques.

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