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What Science Can Do For Policing 1

First regional meeting of the International Crime Science Network

Derbyshire Constabulary Force Headquarters
2 February 2005

The first network meeting was held at Derbyshire Constabulary Headquarters on February 2nd, hosted by the Chief Constable, David Coleman.

The meeting was attended by about 30 people, which included university-based natural and social scientists, those working in scientific support in police services, police officers, members of the Forensic Science Service, and a representative of EPSRC.

David Coleman opened the meeting providing enthusiastic support for the network and what it plans to do. View a copy of his speech.

Gloria Laycock and Nick Tilley explained the background to the bid to EPSRC for funding to support the development of the network. Laycock described the thinking behind the development of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science: that it would provide a focus for work on crime prevention and crime detection drawing together those from a range of scientific backgrounds. Tilley explained what was currently planned for the network in terms of future regional meetings, a proposal for a crime science journal and an international conference in 2007.

Professor Ken Pease of the Jill Dando Institute and Loughborough University gave an inspiring overview, with many examples, of what science had done and what science might in future contribute to understanding and controlling crime.

Dr Andrew O'Neil from Bradford University summarised research he had undertaken with Professor Howell Edwards on the detection of contraband materials, working with Customs and Excise.

Professor Khurshid Ahmad from Surrey University described systems that he had developed for the automatic coding and description of CCTV images.

There were useful discussions about ways of facilitating the mobilization of science in the prevention and detection of crime, in ways that would meet the interests of both parties. Issue based meetings, meetings inviting specific scientists, and the use of go-betweens identifying potential convergent interests were all raised as possibilities.

There was also some discussion of potential specific areas where scientists might help solve police problems. The collection, cataloguing and matching of footwear marks emerged as a potentially interesting focus for collaborative research.

At least one research proposal to the EPSRC was informed by contacts fostered through this meeting.

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