Course studied: BSc (Hons) Biology
Graduating year: 2010
Job: Drugs Examiner
Lisa Jones studied Biology at Bath Spa University and graduated in 2010. She is currently working as a drugs examiner.
"The large amount of practical work I did at Bath Spa has helped me in this job."
What have you done since graduating from Bath Spa?
Due to the recession, it was tough finding any job at first in 2010, so I did a lot of volunteer work with animals at the dog’s home and at a wildlife rescue centre. Eventually I got a job with the police as a clerical officer in the fingerprint department. Although this was a typical admin job involving filing and data entry, I had a lot of opportunity to learn about fingerprints and forensics in general.
Recent changes resulted in the planning of a new drugs analysis lab and, as I was interested in the drugs side of things and always wanted to work in a lab, I applied for one of the new Drugs Examiner roles. Luckily I got the job and have been in the role for about a year now. The drugs team is still quite a new team and we are in the process of setting up the new lab and I am lucky to have been involved in the process from the start
What is your current job?
I am a Drugs Examiner which involves examining a range of illicit drug samples using approved methods.
Typical day in the current job...
Drugs are sent up to us after being seized and, depending on the charge/disposal details, we will put some drugs into storage waiting for court dates to pass while others can be destroyed. We can also test some drugs at the moment ourselves (called field testing) but others, for example from supply cases, often have to be sent to an external lab for more definitive testing until our own lab is up and running.
There is a lot of admin involved in the job as well as the drug testing side of things, and continuity of evidence is really important. We also spend time helping officers with their queries. Sometime we do things which aren’t exactly “day-to-day” such as visiting the police dog officers who need samples of drugs to train the sniffer dogs.
Most favourite part of your current job?
I really enjoy drug testing and I am very excited about the lab and eventually being able to use all the laboratory equipment we have!
… least favourite part?
I don’t like some of the biohazards, especially what we unofficially call code browns, which are drugs which have been “concealed internally”.
How did your course at Bath Spa help to prepare you for employment?
The large amount of practical work I did at Bath Spa has helped me in this job and will probably help a lot in the future in the new lab.
Best experience/memory of your time at Bath Spa?
The Marine Biology field trip!
Top tip(s)/advice for current Bath Spa Biologists/Environmental Scientists?
If you are interested in a career in forensics, I would suggest checking police force recruitment pages, or looking at the websites and recruitment pages of forensic service providers such as ESG
or Key Forensics www.keyforensic.co.uk