Forensic soil samples have been traditionally analysed via examinations of colour, texture and mineral content by physical or chemical methods. These methods leave any organic or water-soluble fractions unexamined. A range of analytical techniques have been applied in this area and these procedures have been reviewed recently. This study uses Raman Spectroscopy to assess both the mineralogical and the water-soluble organic fractions in soil samples. Soil samples were collected from both urban and rural environments comprising the city of Bradford, England, and an arable farming district in Lincolnshire. This study demonstrates how, with the use of oxidative preparation methods, Raman spectroscopy can be used to successfully discriminate between soil types using mineralogy as well as the organic and water-soluble fractions of soils. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.