A revolutionary app that allows scene of crime officers to record evidence centrally in real time, thus speeding up crime scene investigations, has been celebrated at a flagship innovation event.
The Scene of Crime app, developed by Dr John Bond OBE and Dr Lisa Smith from the University of Leicester's Department of Criminology, indexes samples, attaches photos, creates labels and communicates with central databases in real time to generate crime reports. It can be used on handheld devices such as tablets.
The app has already made a real impact: the Knowledge Transfer Network included it as one of ten technologies to be featured at the 2015 Forensic Science Special Interest Group (SIG) Technology Showcase, the UK's flagship event to promote promising forensic science technologies to an international audience, on 8 October.
Dr Bond developed the app in response to a number of crime scene investigation needs. The accurate recording of a crime scene is vital in the pursuit of a successful conviction, but maintaining the chain of evidence is time consuming. The officers need to record evidence and observations at a crime scene and then later transcribe their findings to form reports. The app automates this process, removes the current duplication of work and reduces the chance of errors.
In the US, a number of police forces are already exploring the use of mobile technology for recording crime scenes—but without any consistency between states and reduced functionality, their use is limited. Dr Bond's app, which has been developed in consultation with UK and US police forces, can work across regional and national boundaries and it can also be tailored to the specific demands of the area and across a range of devices and operating systems.
Dr John Bond, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, said: "The accurate and consistent recording of a crime scene has always been problematic and this new app not only overcomes those issues but also removes the need to re-key crime scene data into other police systems."
The University of Leicester worked with Nottinghamshire-based app developers, KuKu Apps, to design the software. KuKu Apps have previously worked with the Department of Criminology to produce course materials and enabled the Scene of Crime app to be developed further and made more appealing to industry and other funders.
Lucy Herreras-Griffiths, Managing Director of KuKu Apps, said "It's a challenge to be able to impact the everyday working day of SOC teams by enabling the process to be more accurate and timely. We really enjoy working with forward-thinking individuals such as Dr Bond as we aim to be at the cutting edge of technology. We were very happy to be one of ten 2015 Forensic Science SIG Technology Showcase exhibitors."
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