Analysing the evidence at Forensics Europe Expo

Forensics Europe Expo, taking place on 19-20 April at London’s Olympia, is the only international event dedicated to forensic technology. Counter Terror Business previews the show.

Now in its 4th remit, the event combines a high-level conference and seminar programme with an exhibition of specialist equipment in applications across all areas of the forensic sector. This year’s event is expected to grow considerably with more global exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations to an audience of senior buyers and specifiers. The unique aspect of this event is the active collaboration across multiple industry sectors from scene of crime products and digital forensics to lab equipment and forensic analysis. The co‑location of the conference and supporting seminar programme creates a key learning environment with the opportunity to network and develop good business relationships as well as see products and services in action.

Forensics Europe Expo will enable delegates to: source cost effective forensics products and innovative solutions; discover cutting edge technology from leading international labs, providers and worldwide manufacturers; understand e-discovery and e-intelligence to prevent digital attacks; network and share best practice with peers; view the latest criminal capturing techniques at a crime scene in our live interactive demonstration area; discuss evidence collection methodologies with key members of industry; and gain knowledge and analysis by attending the two-day conference.

Visitors will be drawn from all aspects of forensics activity from across Europe. This may include: evidence collection by the police, military and intelligence agencies to those involved in any type of investigation or court presentation that requires the analysis of evidence, lawyers, government bodies and agencies as well as private organisations and the labs themselves.

Forensics is the second highest expense for police forces and a major cost for lawyers, government agencies, military and corporate companies. Forensics Europe Expo is the only event to hold a dedicated industry event all under one roof.

Seminar and Demo Theatre
Forensics Europe Expo will once again host its highly successful free to attend two day seminar and demonstrations theatre located on the show floor. The Seminar and Demo Theatre at Forensics Europe Expo allows leading suppliers and experts to share latest industry updates, exclusive case studies, and product demonstrations to help you keep up to date with the fast paced industry.

Topics for the 2016 Workshop Programme include new software to help investigators detect the use of phone apps by terrorists, a new handheld device to search for blood at a crime scene and details about a new bench top microscope dedicated for the examination of gun shot residue. There will also be a presentation exploring advanced phone forensics with camera ballistics and the benefits it brings to investigations.

Visit the Seminar and Demo Theatre at Forensics Europe Expo and see a range of forensic techniques showcased under the spotlight. Learn from forensic experts about their successes, challenges and lessons learnt to improve your expertise and find out about latest project efficiencies and investigation skills to further progress your career.

International Forensics Arena
The forensic science landscape in the UK has changed almost beyond recognition in the last 10 years. The two biggest factors are the change in police procurement procedures and the explosion in the use of digital traces as an intelligence, investigative and evidential tool. This two day conference aims to look at the UK’s role in the on-going development of the forensic sciences. The 2016 conference is the ideal meeting place for forensic professionals to network with peers in a high-level learning environment and to discuss the latest technology and best practice techniques.

The first day of the conference will take a look at the changing face and pace of forensic science both in the UK and overseas, and will explore the use of new technologies and the way experienced UK trained forensic scientists are working around the world to bridge the gap in how forensic science is used here versus how it is used elsewhere. The morning is dedicated to international development and how forensic professionals work together to create innovative solutions whilst the afternoon session will take a look at quality standards across the UK, Europe and overseas.

Day one of the conference is all about setting the standards, and the chairman’s welcome will be delivered by Tom Nelson, director of Scottish Police Authority, where his remit is to deliver an effective and efficient forensic service to Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). Nelson will also be addressing the crowd later in the day, asking ‘What can the International Forensic Arena learn from the Scottish model?’. The Scottish Police Authority provides all forensic services to the police throughout Scotland. This presentation will outline the model, its advantages and how the rest of the world can learn from the lesson learned from its development.

Other speakers of mention include Hazel Biggs, of the Knowledge Transfer Network, who will discuss a model for international R&D success. Administering the Forensic Science Special Interest Group (FoSciSIG), this session questions whether the UK model be exploited by the international forensic community to encourage specific and much needed research and development into key areas or could the FoSciSIG database be reviewed to make better use of shared forensic challenges globally?

The European Forensic Science Area 2020 presentation will highlight current developments within the EU forensic arena and give participants the opportunity to discuss (perceived) possibilities and limitations for mutual recognition of forensic evidence between EU Member States.

Finally, ‘Demonstrating competency in times of austerity’ claims that the need for demonstrating competence by forensic scientists has never been greater. Keith Fryer, of CPN Forensic Exploitation, will describe the range of options available under the scheme which will enable individuals and their employing organisations to demonstrate the maintenance of practitioner competence which will comply with the requirements of ISO accreditation and UK Forensic Regulator’s Codes of Practice.

Digital Forensics
In recent decades, Digital Forensics has become one of the hottest topics for a number of industries. With cyber crime and mass digital attacks becoming increasingly frequent, learning how to counter these attacks is becoming critical. The aim of this session is to educate law enforcement agencies on the potential tools that they can have in their armoury in the fight against cyber crime and international terrorism.

The session also takes an in-depth look at forensic video analysis. CCTV plays an ever increasing role in all police and military investigations and is extensively used for intelligence and evidential purposes. The core technology is critical but of equal value is the importance of understanding how and when it can be used to best effect. This is a must attend session for individuals with an interest in or who are actively using digital forensic solutions.

The Digital Forensics programme, taking place on the second day of the Expo, begins with the chairman’s welcome, where Professor John Walker opens the session, before discussing ‘are we nearly there yet?’ He sees it fit to acknowledge the implications of the cyber threat in all flavours, be they hacking, terrorist support, or bullying – as they all amount to the same thing – ‘Digital Crimes’. The real question is however, are we capable of mitigating and responding to these imposed threats?
Other sessions include ‘the economic impacts of cyber crime’ or ‘E-CRME’, delivered by Bil Hallaq, cyber security researcher, Cyber Security Centre, University of Warwick. E-CRIME is a three year European Union project that started in April 2014 and will end in March 2017. The output of the project is to reconstruct the spread and development of cyber crime in non-information and communications technology (non-ICT) sectors from the perspective of its economic impact on the key fabrics and different levels of European society, while also identifying and developing concrete measures to manage and deter cyber crime. The project consists of several European partners including Interpol. Hallaq will explain more about the project and its development.

‘Preventing payment fraud in real time’ will be conducted and presented by John Bertrand. Immediate payments are an excellent way for people to buy and pay online. Faster Payments, created by the UK banks, moved over £1 billion in 2015. The service is growing, with an average transaction £1,200. However, in 2014, fraud jumped 48 per cent to £60 million per year. The issue is that the sender bank can only see their own customer information and the receiving bank its own. These point solutions enable the fraudster to navigate the banking system, moving payments from one bank account to another bank with minimum fear of detection. Bertrand’s presentation focuses on the need to have a collaborated, third party managed hub, fully compliant to Data Protection Laws that can respond to real time fraud in microseconds. As a number of the banks have said about faster payment transactions, ‘once it is gone, its gone’.

Improving the picture
The ‘Improving the Picture of CCTV’ session will open with a welcome by Dr Anya Hunt of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. Working in collaboration with the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, this year’s Expo will deliver a complete and diverse programme, taking delegates on a journey covering all crucial aspects of forensics.

‘Forensic Innovation in Terrorist Investigations: a look back and forward’ will be presented by detective chief inspector Dominic Murphy, head of Digital Investigations at the Metropolitan Police. He will provide an overview of the way counter terrorism forensic and digital units operate in support of counter terrorist operations. He will also describe some of the investigative successes that forensic innovation has supported over the last 40 years, including some examples of previous terrorist investigations. Using the current threat picture, Murphy will then discuss some of the challenges facing counter terrorism and how forensic innovation, both conventional and digital, can support the ongoing response to the terrorist threat.

In the afternoon, David Spreadborough, an independent CCTV consultant, will present on ’It’s More Than Just a Video’. We are surrounded by moving images. What was once reserved to the big tub in the corner of a lounge, video can now be captured and presented on hundreds of devices, at a click of a button. For a funny cat video, or the latest episode of your favourite drama, understanding the data behind the image, and the changes occurred, may not be of high importance.

But how about the video surveillance system footage of an armed robbery, a fatal road collision, or a suspected terrorist?
Is it important to deal with that footage in just the same way as you would traditional forensic evidence such as DNA? Contamination of the digital data occurs when it is mishandled and incorrectly processed. As a result, could it be misinterpreted? Will the contamination affect the analyst’s ability to identify fact? Forensic video analysis is a lot more than simply copying a video to DVD. It’s more than just a video – it’s evidence and should be treated as such. David’s presentation will open your eyes into a world that few understand but many question.

Finally, Professor Martin Evison, director of the Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Northumbria, will discuss ‘Identification from facial images’. His presentation will review common approaches to facial image comparison in forensic contexts, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and consider issues raised by the burgeoning quantity of facial images arising from CCTV footage and social media.

Meeting suppliers face-to-face
The exhibition provides industry professionals and key decision makers with an ideal meeting space to network with some of the world’s top forensic companies and source the most cost effective products. With more exhibitors booked for 2016 than in previous years, the show is set to be larger than ever and offers a unique vantage point for both buyers and providers across the entire forensics sector.

Speaking at the event in 2015, Nick Mathew, investigation manager for the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) commented: “Forensics Europe Expo was a fantastic event. It ticked every box, from excellent conference information to very useful product sourcing on the exhibition floor. I’ll definitely be back next year.”

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