Think Forensic

Think Forensic is an established, but innovative Crime Scene Investigation Centre based in Skelmanthorpe, on the outskirts of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Visited by children and adults alike, this is a ‘must visit’ venue for would be crime investigators!

Hidden behind a very unpretentious doorway, the entrance leads to an experience that once tried, is never forgotten!

I met Sue Procter, founder of the organisation there for a coffee – but she had so much to tell me, we had to reconvene over Zoom a few days later!



Tell us a little bit about Think Forensic and what you do.

It is probably a case of what we don’t do really!!  We offer programmes for children of all ages and abilities, from as young as nursery age up to sixth form and then we also do outreach work with universities.  Alongside that, we also offer adult based programmes.

We started back in 2002 when I was still a serving police officer, and it was a result of some programmes that we did in schools that had been requested focusing on forensic sessions, which had become part of the curriculum.  For schools and teachers, this was something new and they were unsure of what to do – we agreed to set up a website with some resources on, offer; some kits that schools could purchase but at a lower cost than purchasing forensic equipment independently and finally some workshops that they could opt into – a three tiered approach.

This meant that schools who don’t have a lot of budget, could still access the resources as the website membership is just £15 for life membership.

If there is more budget available they can purchase the kits that have got full instructions and everything they need covering things like fingerprinting, footwear marks, hairs and fibres and blood spatter.

Of course if schools don’t want to deliver forensic science themselves, then we can go in and do it for them! Our programmes are really unique. We have got really specialist staff made up of ex-police officers who are all from different backgrounds within the police service, interview specialists, forensic as well as crime scene investigators, and senior investigating officers.

In addition we also have forensic scientists from different scientific backgrounds, like a forensic geographical profiler and a forensic linguistic expert.  This means when a student asks us a question, we can turn around and say, “Well, actually, we had a case like that and this is what we did.”  It brings real authenticity to what we are exploring!

We also have a Crime Scene Centre which is in Skelmanthorpe in Huddersfield and in here we have set up various crime scenes.  We have a street scene with  a real vehicle in it, we’ve got a burnt out building and then we can mix and match whatever we want depending on the audience.

For the younger pupils we will use the basic crime scenes and with older students we might run a full blown murder enquiry.  The centre also allows us to run sessions for BTEC students who are doing three modules (science, fire and crash investigation), where we can cover all three elements on a practical basis in a full day session for up to 30 students.



What difference do you make – how do your activities inspire children and young people?

 We have been going into some schools year after year.  For example, we have just had an enquiry from a school that we have been going to for 10 years and after COVID where we obviously had to stop going in, we are really pleased that they are getting in touch again.

It’s great when we are in schools because I can be walking down a  corridor and the students come up to me say ‘Hiya Miss, I remember when you came in when I was in Year 7’ and now they are in Year 12.  It builds a lasting memory for them, and when they visit the centre it builds an even bigger memory.



How does Think Forensic support the school curriculum? How can it enrich a child’s education?

 We usually start off in the classroom area, where we teach some techniques such as fingerprinting etc.  Then we dispatch the students to crime scenes and when you watch them go in to them, their faces just light up and they are just agog at what they are seeing!  Whilst we are aiming to promote forensic science, we are also aiming to stimulate an interest in science – we get some students at the start of the session openly sharing that they don’t like science, but by the end they are exclaiming how brilliant it was!

We also build the programmes so that they are cross-curricular, so the programme we do for nursery and reception pupils incorporates health, literacy, numeracy, problem solving, resilience, teamwork etc.

Teamwork is a big area, whether we are in school or the students have come to our centre. We split the students into smaller teams and they get appointed roles such as Crime Scene Manager, Crime Scene Photographer etc – they all have a role and they all get to be hands-on within the crime scene.  This allows the students to think about the wider roles and raises their aspirations in terms of the wider world and the possibilities that are out there in the world of work, not just the forensics and police roles but also the wider judicial system with barristers, solicitors and magistrates.



What is the strangest, or most unusual thing that has happened at Think Forensic?

 Some of the things that the students come out with are amazing!  In one primary school class we were introducing the topic of fingerprints and we asked them if anyone knew what the patterns at the end of our fingers are called.  One little boy was very enthusiastically jumping up and down and obviously thought he knew the answer and when we asked him he said ‘testicles’, (he obviously meant tentacles)!  It made us all smile and sticks in the mind, but demonstrates that we are opening up new vocabulary and learning all the time for the children!



What is the best reaction you have witnessed from a child during one of your activities?

 There are so many of those. When students say at the beginning, ‘I don’t like this’ and then they come along and say, “Oh, that was brilliant” to which we reply, ‘That’s science’!

We have students who have been involved with us at school and then sixth form, they email us for advice when they start considering university.  We have had three girls that I can think of that we’ve had on work experience, and then they’ve gone on to do a little bit more work with us and then they have gone on to university and done a degree in forensics. One of them is now doing a Doctorate in chemistry, one has done a Masters in anthropology and works as part of a major disaster recovery team and was involved in the Grenfell Flats disaster, and the other who did her forensic science degree before going on to do fire investigation as a specialist course and she now has a job working in Dublin fire investigation. That is brilliant to see.



Is there anything I haven’t asked you – that you would like to talk about?

 We are really unique – there are other people delivering school programmes based on forensics but not to the depths that we are doing it, and no one else has their own crime scene centre!  Our staff, specialisms and facilities make us different.  We also do adult experience days and people come up to Yorkshire from the South of England and from Scotland just for half a day with us!


How can people contact you, or get involved with your organisation?

There is our website which is, but people are welcome to email us on or call us on 01484 860599.

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