Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{CSI LISMORE} {Real-Life CSI Police Investigators Solving Crime in Lismore }; Crime Busters on a Roll as Forensic Science Lab Leads the State

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{CSI LISMORE} {Real-Life CSI Police Investigators Solving Crime in Lismore }; Crime Busters on a Roll as Forensic Science Lab Leads the State

Article excerpt

Byline: Dominic Feain dominic.feain@northernstar.com.au

A REVOLUTION is going on quietly behind the majestic doors of Lismore's old police station.

Inside, 14 highly qualified forensic investigators are solving crimes in ways only dreamed of a few years ago.

For a unit with only five officers in 2002, its growth shows the increasing importance of forensic services in regional policing.

Forensic experts, investigators and SOCOs (Scene of Crime Officers) analyse evidence and reconstruct incidents using science some thought only existed on television.

While the Lismore laboratory is the jewel in the crown of the Northern Zone, which also takes in Coffs Harbour, Tamworth and Inverell, the unit's officer-in-charge, Detective Senior Sergeant Noel Paine, goes one step further.

"Lismore is probably the best forensic facility in the State - including Sydney," he said.

This is not parochial bias, he has seen them all.

"They have the same equipment down in Sydney, but it's the way it's laid out here - everything just flows really nicely," he said.

While the unit does not operate under the umbrella of the local area commands, Richmond crime manager, Detective Inspector Greg Moore, said its presence has had a direct correlation to the high clear-up rates of local crime and difficult identifications of dece- ased victims.

"There have been a number of recent high-profile cases that have been resolved through the use of DNA and fingerprint identification," he said.

The unit's new home was restored and outfitted after the commissioning of the new Lismore police station in Zadoc Street in 2008 and has been operational since last year.

In just a few years the facility has tripled successful crime scene identifications and is changing the way investig- ations are conducted.

"DNA has been around for years, but now we can pick up trace evidence from skin cells left behind from just a graze to the skin," Det Snr Sgt Paine said. …

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