“The moment I started working, I knew I was in the right place. As a student, learning and reading is not everything. I have had chance to apply my knowledge, learn more, and apply it to real life cases."
Why did you choose this placement and how did you find the opportunity?
I received an email from the School of Criminology offering me an opportunity to apply to work in their Cold Case Unit. As a first year, I could not believe such an opportunity would be open to me and I applied instantly. Two weeks later, I got a congratulations email stating that I was successful. From then on, I progressed and started working with Locate Missing People International as well.
The work of these organisations is incredible, impressive, and very important. I have learned so much and I continue to learn new things every day. There are thousands and thousands of cases of missing people that have never been solved. We give opportunities to the families of the missing to take a fresh look at their case. There is always something that might resurface with new evidence or new ideas coming to light. Moreover, Locate Missing People International takes every case seriously, providing their expertise as much as they possibly can.
Was this placement virtual or physical or a bit of both?
This placement is a little bit of both. When I started, I was still going to the office. However, a month later, I had to move back home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and shortly after, the University moved to online learning. In time, we will slowly get back to the office and I am hopeful that everything will get back to normal soon. Although, I do prefer to work in the office rather than at home, everything I need is available virtually. All the meetings, including a 6 month intelligence training course, were very well organized, and the best was made of the Covid-19 situation.
What did you find most valuable about the work you undertook, and what skills did you learn?
I learned how to properly investigate every detail of a case. I learned so many new things including intelligence research, victim support and mind mapping of cases. Furthermore, I have bettered myself in other skills, such as presentation skills, processing lots of information quickly and how to investigate with little to go on. I have met incredible people with different backgrounds and expertise. They showed me that every little skill counts and everyone brings something different to the table, making up a team that can provide new perspectives and points of view that are essential while dealing with cold cases.
How will this placement help with your career?
I am and always was very determined to do what I want to do in the future. Getting into University was the very first big step and this work placement helped me to experience first-hand the investigation process. I am still learning new things, the knowledge of which will be very valuable later in my career. I have amazing supervisors that help me with their expertise and teach me how to proceed with a given case, however, I get to investigate, talk to the families, and take on specific roles to build a review team on my own. This has given me more experience than I ever thought I would get at this moment in my life.
What would you do differently if you had to complete the placement module again?
My placement is still ongoing, and there is nothing really that I would do differently. I am constantly learning new things and meeting more amazing people. I quickly found a good balance between work, University and my private life.
The support I have received from the very beginning was amazing. My supervisors and my co-workers are always very helpful, understanding and supportive. The work environment is great and everyone gets along very well.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I very much appreciate the opportunity I was given and have worked hard to achieve what I have. The knowledge I gained and the people I have met have made a big impact on my life, particularly due to the importance of this line of work. There are thousands of families that were never given a piece of mind about their loved ones, and I am very proud that I can be a part of something that may help change their lives.