As a forensic scientist you need to be prepared for anything – homicide, sexual assaults, cold cases – even terrorism.
So, a visit from the bomb squad just another challenge for the undergraduates on LJMU’s BSc Forensic Science degree course.
Chester Troop, 11 EOD&S Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps visited campus on a mission – to provide first-year students with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) brief, which involved a lecture on improvised explosive devices (IEDs), an introduction to the role of bomb disposal operator and a chance to operate the £1m disposal robot.
And students even had the opportunity to try on the EOD suits!
“We were extremely privileged to welcome the Army team on their first training visit to a UK university,” said senior lecturer Dr Amanda Boddis.
“This was an amazing opportunity for our students to learn about Explosive Ordnance Disposal from the experts who are involved in this on a day-to-day basis both in peace time and in deployment situations.
“We had not appreciated how heavy the suits are and were intrigued by the fact they have their own air supply!”
Aisling Chappelow, a student on Forensic Science, said it was like seeing in reality what you only get to watch on TV: “Having the experience to visualise what the bomb disposal team may face was really interesting. Seeing how all the equipment works, particularly the robot, was a real insight to the reality of the work these guys do.”
As part of their ‘army training’, the students were run through a scenario in which a bomb is found in a backpack. Acting the part of first-on-scene police officers, they were quizzed by the army on what they ‘had seen’ to allow the EOD personnel to select the right weapon to deploy.
The students also learned about how to position the robot’s weapons to allow for the IED to be safely disposed, to maximise the forensic evidence for collection and analysis and how post bomb a scene would be handed over to Crime Scene Investigators.
Added Dr Boddis: “We are extremely grateful to Sergeant Stuart Martin and Lance Corporal Mathew Ashton for taking time out of their schedule and I hope that this is the start of a long-term collaboration with the Chester Troop, 11 EOD&S.”