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News Forensic experts join forces to tackle UK crime

Staffordshire University is hosting a virtual conference to help tackle crime in the UK

Dr Rachel Bolton-King, Associate Professor in Forensic Science, has organised the conference
Image: Dr Rachel Bolton-King, Associate Professor in Forensic Science, has organised the conference

With increasing demands on front line officers and criminal justice systems across the globe experiencing similar challenges to reducing and preventing crime, it is vital that we share our knowledge and find better ways to work together across all sectors of the criminal justice system to develop streamlined and integrated solutions

Dr Rachel Bolton-King, Associate Professor in Forensic Science

Staffordshire University is hosting a virtual conference this week focussing on knife and firearm investigations, sexual offences and the forensic value of trace and materials evidence.

The event is aimed at researchers and practitioners working in the UK and will be attended by nearly 200 people working as police officers, crime scene investigators, intelligence analysts, forensic scientists and legal professionals.

Organiser Dr Rachel Bolton-King, Associate Professor in Forensic Science, explained: “With increasing demands on front line officers and criminal justice systems across the globe experiencing similar challenges to reducing and preventing crime, it is vital that we share our knowledge and find better ways to work together across all sectors of the criminal justice system to develop streamlined and integrated solutions.”

The programme features presentations by eight researchers who have been recognised with prestigious Fellowships by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The fellowships are awarded to 150 UK citizens each year to travel the world in search of innovative solutions for today’s most pressing problems.

Rachel received a Churchill Fellowship in 2019 and visited South Africa, the USA and France to understand new ways to address growing gun crime in the UK.

Rachel said: “I was incredibly fortunate to connect with some amazing people who were very open and willing to share their professional experiences and thoughts during my travels.

“Tackling violent, serious and organised crime globally requires holistic, overarching strategies. The type of weapon should not be the focus of our crime prevention plans and we must involve and empower the communities most effected for long term impact and sustainability.”

Other Churchill Fellows presenting their research include Staffordshire University’s Dr Laura Walton Williams, who travelled to North America and Canada in 2017 to explore how early stages of sexual assault investigations can be improved. Trace fibre specialist Professor Claire Gwinnet will also share insights from her travels across the USA and Australasia in 2018.

Lecturer in Policing Emma Tilley received a Churchill Fellowship this year and will visit Canada for six weeks to research support for bereaved families following police-related deaths.

Churchill Fellows from other universities including the University of Portsmouth, De Montfort University, Northumbria University and Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) will also present their research findings at the conference.

Rachel added: “As Churchill Fellows we have had the unique opportunity to visit researchers and academics, private and public organisations, government officials, police forces and other crime agencies across the world to gain insights into best practice and innovative technologies which could be used here in the UK.

“By sharing our experiences directly with those working and researching in the UK’s criminal justice system we hope to inform new approaches to criminal investigations which could ultimately help to reduce crime and have a positive impact on our society.”

The Conference to Enhance the UK Criminal Justice System takes place from 9am - 3pm on Wednesday 16 December 2020. Presentations from all the Churchill Fellows will be available to view online here after the event.

The Churchill Fellows organising, presenting and hosting this event are:

  • Associate Professor Rachel Bolton-King (Staffordshire University, CF 2019)
  • Zoe Cadwell (University of Portsmouth, CF 2019)
  • Associate Professor Leisa Nichols-Drew (De Montfort University, CF 2018)
  • Professor Claire Gwinnett (Staffordshire University, CF 2018)
  • Dr Laura Walton-Williams (Staffordshire University, CF 2017)
  • Dr Kelly Sheridan (Northumbria University, CF 2020)
  • Emma Tilley (Staffordshire University, CF 2020)
  • Dr Debra Carr (DASA, CF 2012)

 

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