Thoughts from the frontline,
past and present.
“No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion it would be to suppose that what science
cannot give us we can get elsewhere.”
Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (The Standard Edition) 1927.
CSFS Member Peter Ellis shares some thoughts on his own past experiences of working within the crime
scene investigation community.
I began my career as a Scenes of Crime Officer in 1980 and was attached to a busy inner London Police
Station. To put a historical perspective to this time Margaret Thatcher had just been elected as Prime
Minister, West Ham had beaten Arsenal one nil to win the FA Cup, and Mary Hopkins topped the music
charts with “Those were the days”. Times were changing and policing was fast becoming a fixed point on
the political agenda with growing demands for greater scrutiny and accountability. In 1981 serious civil
unrest occurred across many major cities in England, with serious rioting in London,
Birmingham, Leeds, and Liverpool. In London disturbances occurred in Brixton, Dalston, Stoke
Newington, Clapham, Hounslow and Acton. Research identified the relationship between the police and
local ethnic communities as a significant factor with the police viewed as symbols of white authority and