… the umbrella term ‘forensic science’ embraces a set of intensely practical disciplines to which the paradigm of pure scientific enquiry cannot readily be applied.
Paul Roberts and Christine Willmore, The Role of Forensic Science Evidence in Criminal Proceedings
I have tried to provide the reader with some understanding of forensic science, its value, limitations, and potential. As Roberts and Willmore suggest above, forensic science does not conform readily to our general expectations or requirements of science. It is messy, conceptually and practically; it deals with body fluids and body parts, explosions, burned-out buildings, and shattered fragments from a myriad of sources, which it attempts to piece together in some meaningful way within the constraints of the legal framework in which it is applied. The boundaries of forensic science are unclear, or at least contested, its evidence base is weak in some areas and open to challenge. It is in turn lauded and condemned by the press, politicians, and the public as befits their mood, and it can be prone to exploitation by bogus experts....