Research Roundup: a one minute briefing

Here is the latest for May 2022

East Midland finalists in the National Innovation in Policing competition

Students from Lincoln and Loughborough University have been shortlisted in Police Professional’s National Innovation in Policing Competition.

A mixed undergraduate team from the University of Lincoln, having worked with Lincolnshire Police, sent in ideas about to improve policing in rural areas. Wiktoria Zawada (studying Business and Management), Karen Nedziwe (studying Law), Rebecca Keddie (studying Forensic Science) and Christopher Pugh (studying Geography) worked together to explore rural crime, and in particular night-time poaching.

Policing a large rural area is a challenge as the police just cannot be everywhere. The team made a number of recommendations, including adapting experiments in the use of dogs is South Africa to train police dogs here in common relevant crime smells, for random deployment and reactive alignment to camera trap activations.

Loughborough University engineering student William Butler submitted a design innovation for a new style of lightweight body armour vest. Given that up to 20% of officers on the front line are likely to experience an injury every year, this new body armour covers a bigger area, protects against more forms of attack and is more comfortable to wear.

William used ANSYS Explicit Dynamics no-linear solver to simulate tests used to develop ballistic vests, to explore defence against bullets and knives. The answer was a combination of ceramic hard armour plate technology with soft body armour in the form of interlocking hexagonal plates, to offer flexibility, mobility and a 67% larger protection are compared with other vests.

Other shortlisted entries include submissions from Thames Valley Police, West Yorkshire Police, the Metropolitan Police and students from Anglia Ruskin and Leeds Universities. All shortlisted entries will be judged against the criteria of relevance; benefits; feasibility and articulation with the winner being announced in the early Spring.

Congratulations to all, but our East Midlands students in particular. The competition is open again for submissions  from anyone, in or outside the police, from June 2022.

New Research on bullet proof technology

Dr James Sharp and  teams from the Schools of Physics and Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham have developed a method for retrieving high resolution images of fingermarks from curved objects like bullet casings that advances forensic science.

UoN scientists performed Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) experiments over 7 months to identify fingerprint images that previous approaches have failed to identify. World-leading research of the highest impact from Nottingham.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The four forces and OPCCs in Wales are looking to create a police academic collaboration based on the model developed, and sustained by, EMPAC. EMPAC itself took its original concept inspiration from the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) so it’s nice to know that we now too are creating our own legacies! We send our very best wishes and luck to our colleagues in Wales in their venture.

EMPAC commissioned research

Professor John Coxhead is working on several national projects for the Home Office and NPCC, and conducting some regional partnership work with Professor Loretta Trickett, of Nottingham Trent University.