By accurately analysing evidence, a young forensic specialist has been able to help the police make solid cases against criminals.
Captain Veshalin Moodley is only 27 years old but is already a crime-fighting superhero within the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Working as a forensic analyst, Moodley has won an incredible 11 awards in just four years of employment in the police service. In February this year, he received the ultimate recognition by winning the SAPS National Excellence Award for Forensic Science Laboratory Employee of the Year.
“I have always been passionate about both science and serving the community. So, after I got my degree in chemistry and microbiology, becoming a forensic analyst was perfect for me. It has allowed me to carry out my ultimate dream by combining my two passions,” said Moodley.
Moodley analyses residue samples which are collected at crime scenes such as murders and attempted murders, hijackings, house robberies and possession of illegal firearms. His work is then submitted as evidence in court, helping to put criminals behind bars.
In the 2017/18 financial year, he completed all of the 296 cases assigned to him, with an error rate of 0 percent. An incredible 99 percent of these cases were finalised within 10 working days. He is also the only police officer to have achieved over 90 percent for four consecutive courses presented by the South African Paint Manufacturing Association. Paint analysis is used in cases such as hit-and-runs, where the paint on vehicles and victims can be compared.
Moodley said that achieving recognition for his hard work has been an honour, but this isn’t the main goal for him.
“Getting the awards are fantastic, but it goes much further than that. When I have helped to get criminals prosecuted with my evidence, that is highly rewarding. It is also about being able to serve the country and play a role in combatting crime – that is what is really important to me.”
Moodley’s motivation and dedication have been key to his success.
“This is not an easy field to be in. You’re looking at some terrible crimes, and you just have to be motivated, determined and carry on doing your best for your country,” he said, adding that mentorship and support have also been vital.