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International Women’s Day: The role of a crime scene cleaner

Celebrating International Women’s Day, Karen Murray, Area Operations Manager, North, Rentokil Specialist Hygiene talks about the role of a crime scene cleaner which involves attending often gruesome situations to clear the scene quickly and discreetly – for example prisons, crime scenes, suicides and even an abandoned oil rig!

I’ve been working with Rentokil Specialist Hygiene for 17 years, starting as a Sales Consultant and working my way up to the position of Area Operations Manager. My role is multifaceted and involves overseeing various specialist cleaning operations, ranging from crime scenes to prisons. On one occasion, I was even involved in cleaning an abandoned oil rig.

In this line of work, we often encounter scenes that are incredibly difficult to witness. However, there is a deep sense of reward in knowing that we can swiftly and responsibly clear away the aftermath of a tragedy or crisis. Our role is pivotal in enabling families and businesses to continue on when lives and spaces have been completely turned upside down. Whether it’s assisting with suicide and crime scene clean ups, or helping businesses pick up the pieces after a crisis, we take pride in our ability to offer support in sensitive situations.

The human element of the more difficult jobs is often the most challenging part. On one particular occasion, we were faced with a suicide clean up. The family members were due to return home that evening, fully aware of the circumstances, and it was our responsibility to clear the space swiftly, ensuring respect and discretion. It’s in these moments that the job becomes both incredibly difficult and profoundly rewarding.

I would definitely recommend this profession to others, but would always express caution, as it’s not necessarily the right career path for everyone. The demands are unique, and you must be prepared to face them head-on. Interestingly, we’ve never, to my knowledge, had someone leave the company because they couldn’t handle the gruesome parts. The industry offers so much room for growth and progression, with opportunities ranging from technical roles to branch management – the possibilities are truly endless.

When I tell other people about what I do, I am often met with surprise and curiosity, and people certainly express squeamishness. I’m a new grandmother; I enjoy a glass of wine and the finer things in life, so people are often surprised at what I do, as someone who probably defies stereotypes typically associated with this line of work. People are definitely interested in what I do, and often want to know the details. In fact, my youngest daughter has always been so fascinated by my work that she has followed in my footsteps, and now works with me at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene.

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