CCL director presents to leading academics on changing face of digital investigations

On Tuesday CCL director Giles Herdale gave a seminar at the crime science department at University College London. UCL has pioneered the development of innovative research methodologies around understanding and responding to crime since establishing the Jill Dando institute in [1997], and invited Giles to speak to the recently established Dawes Centre for Future Crimes, a multidisciplinary research centre bringing together leading academics from disciplines including criminology, computer science and engineering to examine how crime is changing and what sort of policy and practical solutions should be put in place to address this.

Giles spoke about the changing nature of crime, the lag in obtaining reliable official data around crime trends, and the way in which this is affecting demand on policing. The ease with which crime types such as fraud, stalking and harassment and hate crime, are now being planned and executed over the internet and social media means that police forces are facing requirements that they are underprepared to address. This is posing significant challenges for investigators in obtaining evidence in a timely fashion and revealing some key capability gaps at force level that are being seen in unjustified differences in levels of service given to victims.

He went on to illustrate this with reference to a number of case studies where CCL has supported serious, complex and novel investigations. The use of techniques such as data analytics to make sense of very large and complex data sets in complex fraud, cell site analysis to determine where individuals were at the time of major incidents, and dark web investigation into online drugs markets highlight some of the capabilities that CCL can bring to bear to support of investigators. The growth in connected devices such as autonomous vehicles, UAVs and smart cities is driving further R&D activity at CCL.

In discussion the impact on skills and capabilities of policing, how to manage change and the impact of new evidential requirements were all covered. There will be follow up on collaboration opportunities in research projects and student placements.