Huw Griffiths is our Senior Forensic Firearms Scientist. He began his firearms journey 35 years ago at the Met Police Forensic Science Lab which then became the Forensic Science Service (FSS). After the closure of the FSS he worked as a Consultant Forensic Scientist before joining Forensic Access.
Huw has worked on many high-profile cases which include cases of terrorism, murder, armed-robberies and internal police investigations. His work has seen him sent to countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany and Kosovo.
When he’s not off around the UK and abroad at crime scenes, his hobbies include gardening and the intricacies of painting toy soldiers for use in war gaming.
What is a typical day for you?
There's no such thing. I have no idea what I will be doing from one day to the next. I could be attending a crime scene and post-mortem involving firearms evidence, in the laboratory examining and test firing weapons, writing or reviewing statements or attending court to give evidence on a case.
Can you give an example of an interesting case you have worked on?
I was part of the team that went to Kosovo after the war to excavate mass graves and assist in determining cause of death. This was complex, harrowing but rewarding knowing that my work would be instrumental in putting together a body of evidence to convict the perpetrators of war crimes.
Another interesting case was a suicide, where the deceased had used a homemade gun which was powered by “Swan Vesta” matches.
What is the weirdest thing you have worked on?
Well, I once had a cucumber submitted in a plastic bag as an “imitation firearm”. This cucumber had been used in a bank robbery.
What a villainous use of a cucumber-fruit. The mastery of a criminal mind at work! What are the common misconceptions that people have about the work you do?
That all forensic science regardless of discipline is done by the same expert in one laboratory and that it is all done before the first advertisment break.
Yes, I think this is becoming a theme with those that we've interviewed so far. What is one thing you would like people working in defence law to know about your sector?
The privatisation and commercialisation of the bulk of forensic science which directly led to the closure of the Forensic Science Service (FSS) has pushed the industry back 30 years. There is no research, there is little co-ordination and the Police only commission work which they feel will “prove” the offence and this work is often done by unaccredited staff across all disciplines.
Oh and Streamlined Forensic Reports (SFR's) are not fit for purpose!
Thank you Huw for answering our questions and revealing your working relationship with a cucumber in the process. We will be publishing more Q&As with our Forensic Scientists over the coming months. To learn more about the issues of SFR's, you can read our article about them here.