Ground-breaking forensic techniques introduced in the Yorkshire and the Humber (18 Dec 2017)

004 - 18-Dec -2017Ground-breaking forensic techniques that vastly reduce the time taken to help process crime scene investigations have been introduced across the Yorkshire and Humber Region.

Massive improvements in the time taken to have key evidence such as fingerprints and footprints ready for examination are giving a massive boost to detect crimes and helping to greatly speed up investigations.

The project to introduce the rapid forensic developments has sat within the Regional Scientific Support Services (RSSS) and is part of a YaTH regional collaboration, run across the four Yorkshire and the Humber (YatH) forces; West Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Police and Humberside.

The project has introduced the digital transmission of forensic evidence and means that results are available to detectives in almost 'real time' instead of days.

Neil Denison, the Director of Scientific Support Services, Regional Scientific Support Services, said: "This is breaking work. It is a very new concept and we are looking to see if this can be rolled out nationwide.

"It means that the time taken for a potentially key piece of evidence such as a fingerprint or footprint is ready much quicker for analysis than it was previously.

007 - 18-Dec -2017"That could make all the difference in bringing a murderer to justice. This is real science in action making a real difference to the communities we serve. It is helping to transform the way in which forensic services are delivered and police investigations undertaken."

The project uses technologies that enable forensic work to be delivered in 'real-time' nearer to frontline operations.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Lead on national Transforming Forensics work said: "I fully support this work which has the potential to be a real game changer for police investigations and is indicating a huge decrease in the amount of time taken to process certain forensic evidence from scenes of crime. The investment in our Scientific Support services in West Yorkshire has enabled us to put our region at the cutting edge of this work which is fantastic.

"It's crucial that we never rest on our laurels and continually look to improve and transform our services. Technological advances such as these have the potential to not only increase the speed and ability to solve crimes, but also reduce crime from happening in the first place. When criminals discover that their chances of being caught have increased they are less likely to take the risk, and importantly the speed of justice for victims could be dramatically improved."

Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, Senior investigating Officer (SIO) with West Yorkshire Police's Protective Services (Crime) Department, said: "Investigations into major incidents such as murders or serious sexual assaults can be very fast moving and very often science is the key to bringing an offender to justice.

"What this pilot does is greatly speed up the results coming back to the laboratory for testing and ultimately helps me as a senior investigating officer bring people to justice.

"The speeding up the processing of potentially key evidence improves the likelihood of early detection, arrest or recovery of property."

The project is expected to cost £4.1m over the two financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18. Costs are being met through the Police Transformation Fund and the Home Office.

Katherine Austin & Ludo McCloskey, KBR Project Management Team that helped to develop the project, said: "KBR is proud to support the Transforming Forensics Programme of work and the delivery of this ground-breaking operational proof of concept of rapid forensic services."

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