CRIME scene coordinator Paul Tebbutt - star of Forensics: The Real CSI - is preparing to step down after nearly four decades in the job but he hopes his lifetime of research into the region's most horrific crimes has helped to shape the future of forensics.

Paul Tebbutt has worked in the forensic services department at West Midlands Police for 37 years and says he intends to retire in the next 12 months.

The 61-year-old became one of the first ‘civilians’ to join the team, as up until 1985 only police officers were allowed to become scenes of crime officers.

Nowadays crime scene coordinators and detectives, including senior investigating officers, work closely together to uncover the truth behind serious crimes, such as homicide.

Paul said: “My job is to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves and I do this by following the forensic clues and evidence that are left behind at the scene of a crime.

“I mentally reconstruct what happened to the victim. I piece together their last moments and co-ordinate the recovery of the forensic evidence that will hopefully deliver justice to the victim and all those that loved them."

But he stresses: “I couldn’t do this job without the team and with the partnership working we have with other professions, outside of the policing family. I’m immensely proud to work with Home Office pathologist Dr Sacha Kolar, and the highly skilled mortuary technicians, chemist Rob Bone, biologist Phil Field and Warwick University professor Mark Williams.

“I was part of the team who helped bring the 3D micro scanning research doctorates and techniques into our everyday working practices and I am always researching new techniques and advancements that will aid investigations into serious crimes."

Crime scene coordinator Paul Tebbutt in Forensics: The Real CSI - (C) Blast Films - photographer: Ryan McNamara

Crime scene coordinator Paul Tebbutt in Forensics: The Real CSI - (C) Blast Films - photographer: Ryan McNamara

Paul says he lives and breathes his work and is currently supporting new research and techniques into shaken baby syndrome, an area where scientific understanding is still in the early stages. He hopes his legacy will help shape the future generation of forensics experts.

He said: “It’s about time I made way for the next generation, that’s why I’ve decided that this year is my last year as a crime scene coordinator. I just hope my legacy is that my lifetime of research into these horrendous crimes has helped in some way towards shaping the future of forensics."

During his 37 years at West Midlands Police, Paul has investigated more than 200 murders and 1,500 sudden deaths.

He was the forensics expert who attended the 1994 Coventry air crash, where five crew members lost their lives in a Boeing 737.

Crime scene coordinator Paul Tebbutt who appears in BBC Two show Forensics: The Real CSI

Crime scene coordinator Paul Tebbutt who appears in BBC Two show Forensics: The Real CSI

The job has been his passion for many years but there have been tough times and dark days.

He said: “What people don’t tell you is that it’s not just dealing with the trauma of the victim and crime scenes that breaks you, it’s the little things. One of the things for me was having to take a photo of a teddy bear that had been left in the bed by its owner. The teddy bear belonged to a 12-year-old murder victim and it broke me.

“I soldiered on but after another 12-hour day single crewed on yet another murder, I went home and the next day I couldn’t get out of bed. In fact for the next two months I couldn’t get off the sofa. I was diagnosed with burnout and it took me six months to recover with the help of a therapist and I learned that it’s good to cry."

Paul is among members of the forensics department highlighting their work in the BBC Two documentary Forensics: The Real CSI, which airs on Tuesdays at 9pm.

He said he was apprehensive at first about working with the documentary team, adding: "I didn’t know what to expect but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. The documentary team were complete professionals, they said they wanted to showcase the work we do and I believe this is exactly what will be shown. I will say it time and time again I don’t do this job for any glory, I do this job to ensure justice for those that can’t speak for themselves."

Set to retire in 2022, Paul said he has worked with "so many fantastic, dedicated people" over the years and he will miss them more than anything when he finally says farewell but he is keen to do more scuba diving with his free time - having taken up the hobby with his daughter just before the pandemic began.

Episode 3 of Forensics: The Real CSI is on BBC2 tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9pm. Previous episodes can be seen on the BBCiPlayer.