A brutal fight occurs, Hampshire Police arrive on scene and an arrest is made.
Thankfully this fight isn’t real – it is just one part of the mock trial that took place at the University of Portsmouth this week to give students a real-life learning experience of following an incident from the crime scene to the courtroom.
The event, which allows students to practise their skills of investigation and analysis, also involved Hampshire Police which used it as training for officers currently in their probationary period.
University law students acted as barristers, drama students played witnesses and forensic science students provided forensic evidence. A jury of staff and student volunteers heard the evidence.
Third year Law student, Chanel De Gouveia, said: “It has taken months of work to prepare for this trial so it is exciting for it to finally take place. Although it was scary and I felt quite daunted, to be inside a mock courtroom is such good experience.
“Cross-examining actual police officers was also nerve-wracking but an incredible learning experience – it made the whole event very authentic.”
As well as using the University’s one-bedroom forensic house, the students used the University’s state-of-the-art facilities, including laboratories and analytical equipment, a brand new specialist Centre of Forensic Interviewing, which uses Home Office-standard digital equipment to record interviews, and the mock courtroom, a replica of a crown court.
Tutor in Forensic Investigation Skills, Claire Noble, said: “This is an exciting event which brings together staff and students from across the University. The scenario gave students the chance to demonstrate the professional skills they have acquired throughout their studies.
“An excellent addition to this year’s event was the involvement of Hampshire police officers. The case allowed officers to practise crowd control on arrival at the staged fight, interviewing techniques and presenting evidence in court, which is part of the ongoing training they are doing with the University’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies.
“It is hoped that through events such as this, we can continue to build relationships within the university and with our partners in industry, which can only serve to benefit both present and future students.”
Hampshire police officers also took away video footage of the proceedings, which will be used for training purposes.
Detective Constable Sheena Ives said: “Hampshire Constabulary is pleased to have been able to collaborate in this way developing the skills of its officers in various roles from crime scene management, witness and suspect interviews through to presenting evidence in court all while helping develop the skills of the students of the University of Portsmouth in so many of their teaching areas.