UCL News


UCL launches the UK's first Crime Science Laboratory

29 October 2002

University College London (UCL) will today launch the UK's first Crime Science Laboratory in partnership with the West Midlands Police and the Sandwell Partnership.

The laboratory, to be based at West Bromich police station aims with the use of new analytical techniques to transform the development and delivery of a crime reduction strategy in the Sandwell area.

The Sandwell Partnership is working collaboratively across the Borough to reduce crime in the areas of personal safety, property crime, anti-social behaviour and drugs related crime. The Crime Science Laboratory will provide police with key strategic and tactical options for agreed action and intervention. Using the FLINTS database which links together information on offences, offenders and forensic evidence, as well as data from other crime and disorder partnership agencies, the Laboratory will identify 'hotspots' of criminal activity and recommend a series of options to the Partnership that can be undertaken in the fight against crime. The Crime Science Laboratory would then monitor each recommendation as to its effectiveness, efficiency and outcome.

Dr John Piech, Director of the Crime Science Laboratory explains:

"The Crime Science Laboratory will provide empirical analysis and identification leading to a scientifically based and fully researched set of crime reduction and prevention recommendations. For example; the Laboratory could look at the location of the drugs market in the West Midlands and the individuals involved in those markets. It would be possible to identify those individuals who were key to the maintenance of the market and to target them for arrest and prosecution. Because of the richness of the data, it will also be possible to predict the effect on the market of such targeting and reduce the possibility of adverse crime and disorder related consequences. This is a first for the UK and represents the innovative and radical thinking that underpins Sandwell's approach to crime reduction."

Sandwell Local Authority through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund will sponsor the Laboratory for the first two years of its existence. Other bodies contributing to the Laboratory include the Drugs Action Team, Government Office for the West Midlands and the West Midlands Police.

Notes to Editors:

For further information, contact Heidi Foden, UCL Media Relations, 020 7679 7678.

1. The Laboratory will be officially launched by journalist and broadcaster Nick Ross at 9.30am, Friday 1 November at the Sandwell Council Town Hall. To attend the launch please contact Heidi Foden, UCL Media Relations.

2. The Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science is the first in the world devoted specifically to reducing crime. It does this through teaching, research, public policy analysis and by the dissemination of evidence-based information on crime reduction. Its mission is to change crime policy and practice. The Institute plays a pivotal role in bringing together politicians, scientists, designers and those in the front line of fighting crime to examine patterns in crime, and to find practical methods to disrupt these patterns. The Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science is supported by the Jill Dando Fund as a permanent memorial to one of Britain's best-known television journalists.