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Crime scene examiners get empowered

Written by Cathy Grosvenor
Acornhoek in Mpumalanga might be a small town but it is home to a policewoman with a big future.

Warrant Officer Sejeng Marcia Kgoete excelled in the first-ever Crime Scene Examiner Learning programme.Warrant Officer (WO) Sejeng Marcia Kgoete (25) is a poster girl for the new generation of police officers. And she has the certificate to prove it, after achieving 98 percent – the highest of all 23 participants – in the first-ever Crime Scene Examiner Learning programme. The programme was held over 12 weeks from January to March at the SAPS Tshwane Training Academy in Pretoria-West.

She and 22 other officers spent three months of intense training, mastering basic photography, applied crime scene photography, videography, plan drawing, transfer marks, forensic investigation and court procedures.

The learning programme is aimed at empowering crime scene examiners with crime scene protocols as per National Instruction 1 of 2015: while adhering to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

It is intended that the programme be followed by intermediate and later advanced level courses that will allow the crime scene examiners to become accredited specialists in their field.

“The learning programme has equipped me with the necessary theoretical and practical skills to properly execute my job. It was challenging in that all theory had to be demonstrated practically by the participants,” said WO Kgoete.

CSI is underpinned by the Locard’s Exchange Principle, which states that whenever someone enters or exits an environment, something physical is added to and removed from the scene.

It is this that allows examiners like WO Kgoete to link suspects to victims, to physical objects and to scenes.

The participants were carefully selected from Local Criminal Record Centres (LCRCs) and Crime Scene Management Offices countrywide, and also included officers from National Head Office. Whilst some had previously undergone the old 10-week advanced crime scene examiners programme, others were virtual novices, like WO Kgoete, who only joined the SAPS in September 2015.

Since then, she has been receiving training as a crime scene examiner and says she is fortunate to ‘love my job’.

That she is a woman in a traditionally male-dominated world does not daunt her. “Women have broken through the barriers of gender inequality in the SAPS. They bring a new dimension in that they are mentally and physically equipped to perform the same functions as men.

“I would not be the woman I am today without the love and support of a strong and prayerful woman ... my mother shaped me to become a responsible, God-fearing young woman with a strong moral backbone.”