How to be a CSI?

People often ask me what experience, qualifications and training is required for the role of CSI in the UK.

Each Police force will advertise CSI vacancies as and when they become available. The role is very popular and as a result will attract many more applicants than other vacancies may. When I applied for my role, there were over six hundred applications.

It is important to understand the role and exactly what it entails. Many people have ideas about the role thanks to many popular television series, but I'd recommend the role be researched to understand what is fact and what is fiction.

Most vacancies can be found on the Internet, websites such as and Police force's own websites will advertise the roles.

Applicants should have the following:

GCSEs, A-Levels or Equivalent

Some forces ask for basic GCSE's which should include English, Maths and Science. A good grade in Science will be a great benefit.


Some Universities now offer courses in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science. Qualifications in such subjects will obviously help with your understand of the role and it;s demands. However, it is important to remember that a Degree alone will not guarantee you a career as a CSI and many CSIs do not have Degrees in the subject.


As the role will involve a lot of photography, a qualification in photography or experience will be an advantage over candidates without camera knowledge. Most forces now use digital cameras, so it is important to understand how to use them.

Once competent, CSI's often work alone and will visit most crime scenes without a crew mate. It is therefore important to be able to communicate effectively with people you haven't met before. Most people you will meet would have recently been a victim of crime so it is important to be sensitive and diplomatic.

Attention to Detail

A CSI will be expected to interpret and notice things that others do not. Attention to detail is imperative and can be the difference to piecing together what has happened a scene successfully or not.

Driving Licence

You will be expected to drive to Crime Scenes and will require a full UK or EU driving Licence.


The National Policing Improvement Agency instruct a total of 9 weeks residential training for all CSIs in UK Home forces and Non Geographical forces such as the Ministry of Defence Police and British Transport Police.

Completion of this course is often requested when a vacancy arises. This would obviously only be relevant to those who have previously been CSIs or are currently employed by another force.

Future Blog entries will include the content of the course provided by the NPIA.

It would be useful to have an understanding of the Criminal Justice System and in particular Policing in the UK. Police forces have many roles for staff members that are not sworn officer roles and would give you the experience you may need. The role of Special Constable is a great way to gain experience that many employers would value to no end.

See or for more information.

During your time as a CSI you can expect to see many things that may be disturbing or emotional. There may be times when you are the first person into a scene where someone has been fatally wounded or injured. Sometimes you will see things that maybe no one you know has ever seen. It is important to be able to deal with these things, professionally and without being attached emotionally. Modern Police forces have fantastic support networks and will provide any support required to it's staff.

Please, if I have missed something, reply via a comment and I will update to include an answer for you.

I hope this helps.