Supported Employees are helping police solve crime in Burleigh

The Forensics and Packaging team produce high-quality medical packs, forensic packs and specialised products for law enforcement.

June 28, 2024

Did you know a team of 35 Aruma Supported Employees are helping police solve crime in Burleigh? They produce around 3,000 forensic sampling kits per week and are a critical service for the local community.

They work at our Forensics and Packaging social enterprise in Burleigh. The crew are responsible for producing a variety of high-quality medical packs, forensic packs and specialised products that help our men and women in blue.

“We are the only disability organisation with international certification to help police solve crime. In 2019, we gained an ISO 18385 certification, and we are one of just 14 companies worldwide to have that,” said Site Manager, Helen Karathanasis.

This certification authorises Burleigh Forensics and Packaging to produce forensic sampling kits that are virtually free of DNA. These kits reduce the risk of DNA evidence being compromised due to interference from contamination. Two years ago, they were making around 3,000 forensic sampling kits per month – that number is now what we make per week.

“Our Supported Employee’s love that they are working in a job that gives back to the community. They take a lot of pride in the work they do and how they are part of the cycle to protect our communities. We are providing a critical service to the community and that’s why the supported employees have so much pride. We help the police keep us safe,” continued Helen.

The kits they put together include drug testing kits, police trauma kits, DNA sampling kits, sexual assault investigation kits, coronial kits, roadside drug testing kits, and customised packs.

Aruma has a range of customers on the books for ISO 18385-certified kits, including Queensland Police Service, NSW Police and Australian Federal Police (AFP). Other testing kits are supplied to law enforcement agencies including Northern Territory Police and Tasmania Police.

Current Supported Employee, David Walmsley, who has worked at Burleigh for a monumental 21 years, says it’s a great place to work.

“I love forensics because I feel that the work that I do is important and is making a difference. I feel appreciated by the police. I love all parts of work.”

His colleague Daniel Ford has recently celebrated 15 years at the site and agrees, sharing:

“The work I do is helping to solve crimes. My favourite part is checking the kits, having everything done correctly, then sealing the bag.”

The team have also recently had a handful of people celebrate 15 and 20 years, but they say it’s never too late to start!

“We are always looking for more Supported Employees to join our teams. We have opportunities at our Burleigh Forensics and Packaging site on Fremantle St and our Facility Management team at Hutchinson Street. You don’t need any prior experience, just a willingness to learn. We work hard as a team, but also have a lot of fun. We love to socialise and often have barbecues to celebrate special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, Human Rights Day, Employee of the Month, and we often get together with the Hutchinsons street team for some karaoke, pool and chess,” said Helen.

To learn more about these opportunities click here or contact Aruma on 1300 538 746.

This story was also featured in the latest edition of The Burleigh Wave, check it out here on page 15.