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UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science

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Find out more about the Jill Dando Institute

Research at the Jill Dando Institute is concentrated on new ways to cut crime and increase security, drawing upon UCL's vast experience in related disciplines, including architecture, economics, engineering, geography, medicine, psychology, statistics and town planning.

It brings together 30 top research departments and research groups across UCL all with a working interest in the field of security and crime. The JDI aims to promote multidisciplinary research in crime and security and also promote multidisciplinary conferences, events, training and short courses in these fields. Partners and clients include organisations from academia, industry, commerce and government.

In order to offer formal degree qualifications, UCL created the Department of Security and Crime Science as the teaching arm of the JDI. The Department offers an undergraduate programme, master's courses and PhD programmes. Its alumni have gone into roles within Government, the security services and academia.

The current Director of the JDI is Professor Richard Wortley. To find out more about the members of the JDI board of directors and all the people who make the JDI what it is today, click here.

Jill Dando – a biography

Jill was one of a rare breed of presenters who are able to project the warmth of their personality across the television screen. Consequently she was loved by millions, who felt they could relate to her. Whether male or female, old or young, she was admired and invited her into their homes each week.

Born on 9th November 1961 she was brought up in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset . A congenital heart problem made Jill a sickly baby and at the age of eight she underwent life saving pioneering surgery in Bristol to correct the defect. She was one of the first survivors at the time. She progressed through the local schools catching up with her peers and being voted Head Girl at her sixth form college.

Her first job was as a local reporter with the Weston Mercury while attending journalism college in Cardiff . After five years she moved to Plymouth to work with the BBC and from there her career progressed rapidly. Her potential as a national TV presenter was spotted and she was persuaded to move to London presenting Breakfast News. From there she gained a reputation as a journalist who could function with a cool head under the most extreme of pressures.

Before long Jill was presenting the Holiday programme, the Six O'clock News and Crimewatch UK. Her adaptability was renowned and something she recognised herself. "I am a professional chameleon" was a favourite phrase of hers ' when asked which area of television she preferred.

After seven years she decided to leave the Holiday programme to pursue projects closer to home. This potentially created free time in her diary. However, this was not to be. She presented a new series of The Antiques Inspectors and numerous projects were planned. All major BBC events for 1999/2000 involved Jill and she had just won the TRIC award as BBC Personality of the Year for the second time in three years. She was their greatest asset.

Jill enjoyed her fame but never let it get the better of her. She possessed a modesty which made her feel and behave normally despite the adulation and attention. It was an endearing personality trait that meant she treated all people as equal.

On 26th April 1999 Jill was murdered on her own front doorstep by a single gunshot. She had been returning to pick up her post and plan her wedding in September.

The shock and disbelief was universal, making news bulletins around the world. Tributes were paid in the House of Commons and Buckingham Palace. Thousands of people wrote to Jill's family and friends to express their sorrow while millions followed developments on the television.

Two newspapers (the Sun and the Daily Mail ) together with Crimestoppers posted the biggest reward in history for information to solve the crime.

The UK lost one of its brightest stars and most gifted presenters. Jill's achievements in life were remarkable. The forget-me-not and the phrase not for nothing express the determination of friends, family and Trustees to create something good out of the tragedy of Jill's untimely death.

In April 2019, an event was held at the Royal Society to remember Jill and celebrate her legacy - the JDI. You can watch a recording of the event on UCL's YouTube channel.