If you thought crime scene cleaners do the same job as regular cleaners, then you really need to think again. In fact, crime scene cleaners are highly specialised professionals who are equipped with the skills and tools to handle high-stressful situations involving biohazardous material, blood, bodily fluids, and death. They decontaminate a crime scene, while both protecting themselves and the evidence at the scene while working. Therefore, it is a very critical and challenging career that requires thoroughness, attention to detail, and a high tolerance for coming across emotionally and physically disturbing situations. It is not for the faint-hearted. In this article, we will take a look at what it takes to be a good crime scene cleaner and how you can be one in the UK.
Before we dive into the qualities of a good crime scene cleaner, it is crucial that we clarify what it is they do first. Basically, crime scene cleaners don’t just clean, they do so much more. For instance, the other names for their services include blood or bodily fluids cleanups, urine faeces cleanups, bio-recovery, bioremediation, disinfection or decontamination, odour removal, all of which give you an idea of why we are saying that crime cleaners do more than just cleaning.
After the occurrence of a crime or traumatic event such as a suicide, bio-hazardous materials are often left at the scene. Unlike the regular dirt and grime you know of, bio-hazardous materials are supposed to be cleaned with extra caution, and not just anybody can clean them. Essentially, trained crime scene cleaners are the ones called for to clean the mess.
These cleaners are tasked with dealing with events such as death, murder, suicide, meth labs, filth, blood spill, debris, road accidents, and many more, where they are not only expected to remove all the biohazardous materials from the scene but also to completely decontaminate the entire area until it becomes completely safe to use it again.
Physical fitness – obviously, anyone thinking to take crime scene cleaning as a career has to be physically fit. Otherwise, you will have a really hard time. Can you imagine being in a full-body personal protective suit and a full face mask – as that what crime scene cleaners wear for – and you are physically unfit? Do you know the kind of trouble you will be in? Cleaning of crime scenes can be very labor-intensive and only those who are physically fit would survive in this job. So, if you are looking to be a crime cleaner, ensure that you live an active and healthy lifestyle.
Team player – as you may know, things can easily take a downturn in a split of a second when it comes to cleaning crime scenes. Some have attributed this to the high-stressful situation a crime scene usually is. So, it is very important that you will be able to work well with other professionals. It is not uncommon for crime scene cleaners to be paired with doctors, forensic investigators, and the authorities. Needless to say, that you really need to know to cooperate well and work as a member of a team.
Grit – crime scenes are really tense at times. Well guess what, tense situations tend to bring a kind of a negative atmosphere. Now, that being the case, guess what is required of you as a crime cleaner? Your ability to carry out the job perfectly, no matter how the situation is. So, do you think you will be able to remain calm and in control of situations when things get tough, because, if not, then you might be in the wrong career. The ability to get things through from start to finish when the situation becomes complicated is very crucial if you are to succeed in this career.
Compassion – oftentimes in a crime scene, you will either find witnesses, victims, or other unfortunate individuals who are closely acquainted with the victim still hanging around when you are doing your job. So, you will need to show compassion and empathy to these people, reassuring them of their environment and comforting them if they were directly or indirectly affected by the crime.
Mental toughness – let’s be honest here, suicide, violence, drug abuse, or any unattended death can for sure take a toll on any human being, emotionally. So you can just imagine what you will be going through every day when you go to work as a crime scene cleaner. What this means is that you will need to have the strength of character that pushes you forward to complete the job, even in the most disturbing situations.
Now that we have gone through what it takes for you to be a good crime scene cleaner, let us take a look at the process of becoming one in the UK. Obviously, as with all the other careers, there are a number of skills you need to have, which means that you will require special training. In as much as there is no formal education required to work as a crime scene cleaner in the UK, and that just about anyone regardless of your background or social status can be hired, it is always recommended to have foundational knowledge on how the cleaning should be carried out, not to mention how to remove the biohazardous waste materials from the crime scene. That being said, some institutions in the UK such as the National Academy of Crime Scene Cleaners (NACSC) and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) trains and prepares you for this career. They offer certification in:
You will also be able to learn everything there is to know about the cleaning techniques, professional etiquette to industry standards as well as proper disposal methods. These skills give you an upper hand when it comes to being hired as a crime scene cleaner, and you are able to understand what exactly is required of you every time you are given a job. Moreover, having some experience in medical professions, law enforcement or any other form of biohazard cleaning would be a major plus for anyone looking for a crime scene cleaning job in the UK.