MORE and more women are taking the step from being “armchair detectives” to studying criminology and forensic investigation.

Seventeen women – and just five men – have signed up for the BSc (Hons) criminology and forensic Investigation degree at South Essex College’s Southend campus.

Launching in October, the degree, which is validated by the University of Essex, will delve into the world of crime – from who commits it and why, how they are caught and what happens to them when they are found guilty.

The course is led by trained barrister Judy Kanani. Also on the team are Sarah Munford, who will teach crime scene investigation and forensic science, and Gary Edwards, who will delve into policing.

So, does Judy think there is a reason behind the upsurge in female students?

Judy says: “It has been surprising how many more women than men have signed up for the degree, but from my work I have found women do seem to have a strong sense of social justice.

“Also, in recent years, with so many books on crime and TV shows, I think a lot of women have become interested in the subject, but may not have had the opportunity to pursue it.”

Judy is hoping to infuse students with the same passion she has about justice, the legal system and criminality.

Judy explains: “Criminology provides the study of criminals and criminal behaviour – are they born or does society create them?

“Is prison the best way to deal with criminals or are there better ways?

“With reoffending rates so high in this country, we need a pragmatic approach to this issue, especially the way we deal with the young who transgress the law.

“It’s all really interesting and certainly sparks lively debate, as it impacts everyone in society.”

For the forensic element of the course, students will be given special reusable detachable “heads” which can be filled with blood and subjected to trauma in order to determine the angle and instrument used in head injuries. Other areas of the course will include entymology, which uses the lifecycle of certain insects to tell how long a body has laid undiscovered.

The course gives students a lot of transferable skills for employment.

Judy adds: “Whether they want to be a criminologist, forensic scientist or want to go into the police, we wanted to make the students as employable as possible.

“There are transferable skills for probation service and the police force, and a good grounding if they want specific career paths where they would also need additional training.”

Judy was a mature student when she studied law, and went on to become a barrister.

She has always been passionate about teaching and passing knowledge onto her students.

She say: “For me, one of the most important things students take from this course is the ability to make judgments – to form an opinion that is robust and stands up to challenge. “It’s quite a difficult thing to do because, although we have to make judgments and form opinions every day, one that’s going to be tested in court and carries professional credentials and potentially someone’s liberty with it is incredibly important.

“Students have to learn to trust their own judgment and it’s not an easy skill to learn.

“Whatever role our student’s progress onto, this course makes them more analytical and more aware and that makes them extremely effective in their work or in further study.

Find out more about the degree by visiting the South Essex College Clearing page at Clearing.aspx