Steering Group

The UKAFN Steering Group is made up of Nurses and Paramedics currently working, often in senior positions, within either the police custody setting or sexual assault examinations (or both).  The steering group are recruited from the UKAFN membership, being mindful of striking the balance right, between sexual offences and custody representation.  The Steering Group members are volunteers who are not paid for their time and efforts.  The Steering Group meets face-to-face at least four times annually but remains in constant communication all year round.

Jennie Smith – President

Jennie Smith picI started nursing in 1990, and have had a varied career. I have worked in a busy inner city Accident and Emergency department. For five years worked in some of the biggest dance clubs in Liverpool City Centre as a Nurse and was also a Pharmaceutical rep for eleven years, selling medications in general medicine, psychiatry, HIV and latterly haematology and microbiology.

In 2008 I secured a position to set up a team of Forensic Nurses working as employees for Merseyside Police. I managed this service and the 9 Forensic Nurse Practitioners until 2011 when our service was passed to a private provider for whom I continue to work clinically on a part-time basis. I am also involved in training Forensic Nurses across the country, both privately and for my forensic employer.

When I started my work in forensic nursing, I found an emerging area of nursing that I am totally passionate about and a speciality that continues to challenge and fascinate me every day. I am currently working on my MSc to enable my development in the forensic arena.

I became involved in UKAFN in 2008, subsequently becoming the National Conference Organiser and Vice President. I was honoured to be elected as President in May 2013, and aim to continue the positive work that UKAFN has done in the nine years since it began.

As for me, I have a wonderful partner, live by the sea and am able to enjoy wonderful sunsets throughout the summer and sometimes winter evenings. I love to travel, have a passion for shoes (some would say a problem) and fashion and am an avid rugby union fan.

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police / Crime

Sue Fewkes – Vice President

susan_fewkes_treasurer_120x142Sue has been on the UKAFN committee since 2004 and the inaugural meeting in London. Sue initially trained as an Enrolled Nurse at Kings’ College Hospital in London, in 1979, working mainly in ITU. Sue completed the conversion course to become a Registered Nurse in 1997, working in surgery in a private hospital. In 2001 Sue joined Kent Police as a Forensic Nurse Practitioner, after feeling the need for a new challenge, boy did she get one! Sue found the role very challenging and loved the unpredictability. While in this role Sue has been an active member of UKAFN and currently sit as Vice President and Secretary, Sue also sits on the FFLM Scientific Sub-Committee meeting twice a year working on the guidelines for the collection of forensic samples for complainants and suspects. This is a multi-disciplinary team including forensic scientists, kit providers, Forensic Nurse Examiners, Forensic Medical Examiners and occasionally Police.

In 2013 Sue took on the role of Clinical Coordinator for the Kent Sexual Assault Referral Centre and found the role a great challenge in helping to set this service up. The service has now been taken over by Mountain Healthcare and continues to run very successfully. At this was the point Sue realised her heart was really with Custody Nursing, so returned as a Forensic Nurse Practitioner with Kent police. Sue feels very fortunate to have been able to have had the opportunity to gain an insight and experience in working with victims, which compliments and enriches her Forensic Nurse Practitioner role. Sue is married with two children, and the spare time she has she spends swimming, Nordic walking, horse riding and volunteer for Riding for the Disabled.

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police / Crime

Julie Tekin – Treasurer & Steering Group Member

IMG_3107I am at present employed as a senior forensic nurse, working at the Northumbria SARC based in Newcastle. I have been in this present post for thirteen months. We work as a multidisciplinary team, including counsellors and independent sexual violence advisors (ISVA). We provide forensic medical examinations, for both women and men aged over 16 years, who have been the victim of sexual violence.

I have been a qualified nurse for many (too many) years and have had a varied career. I started working on a gynaecological ward after qualifying. I then moved to London to undertake a course in burns and plastic surgery nursing. I stayed in London following the course working on a regional burns unit. I moved back to Newcastle six years later and have remained here ever since. My career included working in a regional neuro trauma unit for many years.

Following the birth of my first child, I pursued a career in community nursing and remained there as a district nursing sister until 2010. I was then seconded to the palliative care team as a Macmillan clinical nurse specialist. I worked in the team full time as a community CNS until 2013.

I then had a very diverse change in career and moved into forensic nursing and my present role. This has been a very challenging year but has also been very rewarding and exciting. I have become involved in not only highlighting the SARC services to fellow professionals but also been very proactive in approaching schools and colleges, to teach their pupils about consent and capacity to consent. This has been well evaluated, and the plans for the future are to roll it out to a wider audience including universities.

As for me! I have two grown up children, one at university and one still at home. I enjoy travelling and socialising. I have a dog, who is the perfect solution to distressing after a day at work!!

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police /Crime

Margaret Bannerman (formally Cunnion) MSc BSc (Hons) RN Dip (HE) Cert (Med) Ed – Education Officer & Steering Group Member

IMG_3105Marg Bannerman (formerly Cunnion) has a nursing background in Gynaecology and Genitourinary Medicine and has been working in academia; initially as a Researcher and then Senior Lecturer in Sexual Health for the past ten years.’

Marg currently sits on the Department of Health (DH) Consultant Nurses Group and is Education Officer for both the United Kingdom Association of Forensic Nurses (UKAFN) and Genitourinary Nurses Association (GUNA). Marg has been involved in many national projects such as the RCN Sexual Health Competencies (RCN, 2004 & 2009), compiling the GUNA Education and Training Database and she was a member of the DH Education and Training Group who developed the Recommended Quality Standards for Sexual Health Training (DH 2005). Marg’s area of research was identifying the Sexual Health Needs of Young People in South Staffordshire (HPA 2003).

Marg was a co-author of ‘Improving Sexual Health Advice’ (Wakely, Cunnion and Chambers, 2003) and was also a contributing author to Sexual Health (Essential Clinical Skills for Nurses) Edited by Kathy French (2009).

Marg’s current area of interest is developing national standards in SH education and training within specific professions to develop qualifications within the specialities, and her research interests include Negotiated Learning.

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police /Crime

David Tremlett – Steering Group Member

IMG_3106Dave spent the first two years of his nursing career working in both elderly medicine and the community setting in Portsmouth, Hampshire. He has since dedicated his nursing career working solely in police custody Suites within Hampshire Constabulary. He has worked in this role for over ten years in a senior/lead capacity under both the NHS and private healthcare providers. He has a keen interest in health promotion and setting up pathways of care with other health services to ultimately benefit the patients seen in police custody.

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police /Crime

Matt Peel – Newsletter Editor & Steering Group Member

IMG_3104Matt is a Registered Adult Nurse and has been working within the custody arena in West Yorkshire since 2012. His past clinical experience includes Acute Medical Admissions, Accident & Emergency, Intensive Care and General Surgery. Matt has also been fortunate to live and work overseas while travelling around Asia, Australia and New Zealand for a year.

Initially qualifying in 2002 with a DipHE Nursing Studies. In 2013 Matt started the MSc Advanced Forensic Practice (Custody) at Staffordshire University. Matt successfully completed the award in 2018 achieving an overall distinction. As part of Matt’s dissertation, he undertook research titled ‘Exploring the attitudes of police custody nurses and paramedics towards self-harm’.

Matt has been a member of UKAFN since starting as a Custody Nurse. In 2014 Matt became responsible for the quarterly UKAFN newsletter. Matt has had several articles published in both the Nursing Standard and Emergency Nurse.

Matt is currently employed by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust as a trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner (Forensic Medicine) and is currently working towards the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice (Clinical Practitioner)

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police /Crime

Rachel Fell – Steering Group Member

IMG_3108My name is Rachel fell and I’m the Regional Clinical Manager for Leicester custody currently working for G4S.  I have been working in custody for the last ten years and love this type of work. My background is the clinical decisions unit at Glenfield hospital, community nursing and practice nursing.

I recently attended my forensic nurse training and will be working alongside the staff at Juniper Lodge, sexual assault referral centre, once my shadowing is complete. My role will be to carry out sexual offence examinations on clients bought into Juniper Lodge, either self-referral or by the police.

I live in Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire with my partner of 25 years and three lovely children, one of which is now at university.  I enjoy living in the National Forest and walking my dog. I have quite a few pets and enjoy country living. My passion is travelling and recently spent a month in Seattle Washington.

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police /Crime

 Joanna Hollinghurst – Steering Group Member

IMG_0309_sRGBJoanna trained as a Registered General Nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1990 and went on to work in A&E, Gynaecology, Oncology and General Surgery. In 2004 Joanne was intrigued by an advert asking for A&E nurses to work within the West Midlands Police custody setting and applied out of interest. Joanne was successful in getting a post and started at the beginning of 2005, and while she still didn’t understand the role at the end of the week-long induction, it suddenly clicked while shadowing and she loved it!  Joanne found it was exciting to be part of an emerging speciality and having the opportunity to develop the role. Joanne went on to become a team leader within Custody and became more involved with training, clinical governance activity and identifying best practice.

Joanne became aware that there was a real shortage of female Sexual Offence Examiners to see victims and felt that nurses had lots of relevant skills and knowledge that they could contribute to ensuring that victims receive a high standard of care. It seemed a natural development for the Forensic Nurse role, so in 2009 Joanne decided to do the St Mary’s FMERSA Course which she enjoyed. Joanne came up against a number of hurdles in trying to be a Sexual Offence Examiner and old-fashioned views about a nurse’s ability to do this work, but she persevered, and this led to her becoming the West Midlands SARC Manager and a Sexual Offence Examiner in 2013.

In 2015 Joanne started her current role as the National SARC Lead for G4S Health. Joanne provides leadership and support to the management of six SARC services, and is part of the senior clinical team providing healthcare across Secure, Custody and SARC Services.

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police /Crime

Carl Denton – Steering Group Member

Carl’s career started in the ambulance service in 1982, where he later went on to bec0me a Registered Paramedic. Carl has worked on many varied assignments which includes time spent with Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS).


Prior to leaving the ambulance service, Carl was a General Manager within the emergency operations sector dealing with ambulance deployments and telephone triage. Following this, Carl worked alongside the Department of Health with the introduction of the 111 service and managed the implementation in its first phase.


After 30 years in emergency care, Carl was introduced to the field of forensic medicine and is currently employed by G4S Forensic & Medical Services.

Forensic health / Forensic Science / Forensic Nurse / Criminal Justice / Police /Crime