What is the Worst Thing You've Seen?

It's a question I hear all of the time, as soon as people find out I'm a CSI. 

I love my job, so why wouldn't I want to talk about it?! I love talking about it.

I'll often ask them to tell me about the worse thing they've seen first. It hardly ever compares. So then I think to myself, do they really want to know about the worst thing I've seen?

Most people really wouldn't want to hear about the worse thing I've seen, let alone see it. 

Most of the worst things ultimately involve death. The death of someone's son or daughter, mother or father.

Once you've seen it, you've seen it. There's no unseeing. Not only have I been there and seen it, I've smelt it, I've touched it and moved it. I've taken photographs of it, I've put it in a bag, I've undressed it, I've picked bits up from the other side of the room and pieced them together, taken it out of the boot of a car, from the bottom of a wheelie bin, from the conveyor belt of a recycling centre.

These things don't bother me. I'm not affected by them. It's not because I'm heartless or cold. It's because I don't know these people. This is my job. My career. Someone has to do this and I'm proud that it's me. 

Just because it doesn't affect me, it doesn't mean I don't do these tasks without compassion. I treat every person I deal with, with the utmost respect. Sometimes the things we do appear undignified, which is where I often find myself talking to the person who has passed, making a quick apology for the way we're doing something. 

I'm very rarely alone when I see these things, there will no doubt be at least another CSI or two with me. My colleagues see and smell the same things. We talk about it, whilst we're doing it, in the van on the way to McDonalds afterwards, in the office when we're writing the job up or weeks later when something reminds us of the job. We talk about it together because there's very few people who would want to talk about these things in the detail we do.

So, my question to you: What's the worse thing you've seen?


  1. Hiya,

    Hope you are well and having a good week so far. This post is really interesting, it must have some real tough moments but also some very rewarding ones when you know you're protecting people. I always thought I'd handle horrific scenes quite well but I don't know what I'd do if I was really there.

    I work for a company called Reveal which specializes in police body worn cameras. I recently came across your blog, which I noticed has an incredibly impressive following and it is no surprise as to why. I really enjoy your interesting subject matters and cause for debates such as this one.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in taking a look at our website and providing some feedback for us in terms of our products and your first impressions? We would really value your opinion as someone who works in your line of work and, if you like the site, we’d love to perhaps invite you to some events we have coming up which we hope would make excellent content for your blog as well as giving you an exclusive look in to this technology. I think these body worn cameras make an excellent debate topic and hope you do too.

    If you'd like to get involved, please do drop me an email. I hope to hear from you soon :)

    Sophie Athawes

  2. I found this blog really interesting as I'm currently doing a degree in forensic science and criminal investigation and hope to be a CSI.

  3. Wow, what a blog! I mean, you just have so much guts to go ahead and tell it like it is. Youre what blogging needs, an open minded superhero who isnt afraid to tell it like it is. This is definitely something people need to be up on. Good luck in the future, man
    crime scene cleaning

  4. Hi, I'm a journalist and writer currently grappling with a fictional London crime scene, and not wanting to commit too many howlers! Is there any chance I could email you a few queries about procedure - especially police access/responsibilities? I got your csiguy01@googlemail.com email off the bottom of the blog, but it doesn't seem to work. Is there another one I can use?

    If you have other things you'd rather spend your time on, I perfectly understand!

    Thanks, Paul G

    1. Paul,

      I've only just come back to the blog. This comment is over 12 months old, are you still after help?