International Forensic Success

MSci Forensic Investigation student, Gareth Griffiths, and MSci Forensic Science student, Kirstin Gent, funded their own research trip to Canada at the end of April, spanning over three weeks. 

 

Gareth’s research involved validating software for Faro and also enabled Gareth to collect data for his final year project on Blood Pattern Analysis, using Faro Zone 3D on different types of wallpaper.

 

 

 

Gareth has said he would “like to say a big, big thank you to Eugene Liscio for giving us the best 3 weeks, [Kirstin and I] will never forget: taking us to Niagara Falls, meeting amazing people in the field of policing/forensics, [and] taking us to York Regional Police Head Quarters to help with Kirstin’s project and being able to shoot a gun for the first time!

“Most of all demonstrating to me the Faro scanner and Software and collecting the data for my final year project on blood pattern analysis using Faro zone 3D on different types of wallpaper.

“We are so honoured to have been given this opportunity and we will never forget the time here, in such a great country. We have never met anyone so enthusiastic about their profession. Once again Eugene Liscio, thank you for everything. You are always welcome to England anytime.”

 

CLA+ Sessions and Learning Gain

As part of a national project funded by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) there is an opportunity to take part in sessions completing an online test which will help you to discover your skill level and could assist you in identifying areas for development. The feedback can then be used to create a personalised development plan you can follow to help you work on any areas that you feel would be beneficial to you in the future.

In return for completing the test you will receive £40*

The Collegiate Learning Assessment is a standardised online test that is used to assess certain skills that you may possess. No subject specific knowledge is required or tested and it will not impact upon your degree marks (apart from giving you the opportunity to improve following reflection of the feedback you receive). The test will provide an objective assessment about the critical skills you have at the current time. The test is open to any undergraduate student studying any subject at any level.

The test takes 90 minutes to complete and results are returned in four to six weeks. Once you have your results you can meet with your personal tutor or an Academic Skills Tutor to identify your strengths and areas for development, and draw up your own personalised plan for development.

Once you have completed the test there is an opportunity to complete a 30 minute survey on learning engagement.
(*The £40 has to be claimed through Unitemps – Unitemps will complete an ID check and accepted forms of ID will be required . This check will have to be completed before payment. More details on how to do this will be provided in the sessions)

The sessions available are as follows

There is no need to book, just turn up to the session that is best for you.
Please arrive promptly as sessions are timed and allow 2 HOURS for the session

If you would like anymore information contact Stacey.Stanyer@staffs.ac.uk

Law Alumni Present Research Findings at HMP Stafford

Lecturer Tawney Bennett and Alumnus Amber Mapledoram presented their research findings to senior management at HMP Stafford on the 25th April.

Lecturer, Tawney Bennett (left) and Amber Mapledoram (right)

Their research consisted of an empirical and largely qualitative analysis of the prisoner complaints system, through distributing questionnaires and carrying out in-depth interviews with prisoners.

The researchers conducted their investigation through a prisoner-oriented lens, focusing on the prisoners’ perceptions, experiences and feelings regarding the complaints process.

Alumnus Amber Mapledoram

Their research spanned approximately 10 months and resulted in practical recommendations being proposed to senior management, to implement into the future practice of the prison and promote positive change. The suggested implementations were created with an emphasis on the importance of procedural justice and treating prisoners with fairness and respect.

The recommendations were well received by the prison management team and they expressed a keen desire to maintain the blossoming partnership with Staffordshire University.

Alumnus and Lecturer Tawney Bennett

Future research projects have been organised with the Deputy Governor of HMP Stafford, offering Staffordshire University students an insightful and invaluable opportunity to implement change in the Criminal Justice System.

Forensic and Crime Science Society Hosts Student-Led Conference

On the 21st March 2018, the Forensic and Crime Science Society organised and hosted a Student Led Conference. The aim of the conference was to promote and encourage students to showcase their own research and to develop their skills, whilst inspiring other students to do the same.

The event was formally opened with a welcome talk by Dr Sean Curley, Dean for the School of Law, Policing and Forensics. Dr Curley greeted the students and their student colleagues; also in attendance at the conference were representatives from the staff of Staffordshire University, as well as invited guests and experts.

Dr Sean Curley, Dean of the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, opened the event

After the first round of presentations by students and guest speakers, a special lunch and poster presentation was provided. This gave further opportunities for everyone involved in the conference to discuss the presentations and to provide a vital networking opportunity for the student and staff in attendance.

Dominic Davis- Foster: developing a system for identifying the brand of ammunition from gun-shot residue.

Kurstie Burgess, a past student, gave her talk on crime scene reconstruction and shared some employability advice.

Sophena’s research examines how individuals view injury maps in court and explores a move to an interactive viewing format, using participants.

Nadine’s final year research focuses on extracting data from Fitbit devices for use as evidence in forensic investigation. It also features in the Journal of the Crime Sciences – CSEye.

Alice presented her research on using images to develop a method using RGB values for identification & quantify fibres.

Lauren presented her research on disarticulated remains.

Well done to all of the students involved and a huge thank you to our guest speakers and visitors who attended.

British Conference of Undergraduate Research

Some of our Forensic students represented the Criminal Justice and Forensics department at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research, held at the University of Sheffield. Each student presented their own research over the two days, 12th-13th April.

A presentation on the Analysis of Corrosive Chemicals on Clothing by Tasmin Crompton

Dominic Davis-Foster presented his research on Identifying the Brand of Ammunition from GSR

Afsane Kruszelnicki talked about her research into Persistence of Fibres in Underwater Crime Scenes

Shauna Richardson talked about Modern Slavery

Sarah Hedges presented her research into The Impact Menstruation has on Semen Persistence in Sexual Offences Cases

Adeniyi Popoola presented his poster on Use of ESLA to Retrieve Fibres from Different Surfaces

Natalie Goswell presented her research on investigating whether Contextual and Emotional Bias Influences the Interpretation of Bloodstains

Nadia discussed her research Investigating & Quantifying the Amount of GSR Recovered from a Variety of Interior Car Surfaces

Jade Chapman presented her poster on Identifying & Validating Techniques for Detecting Heroin in Porous Objects

Liss Chadwick presented her poster: An investigative approach of easily-accessible chemicals on porcine bone as a means of understanding their destructive potential 

Renniel Pena presented his poster on Comparative Analysis of Bloodstain Aging Between Animal Blood and Human Blood

 

Introducing the Forensic Fibres Microplastic Research Group

The Forensic Fibres Microplastic Research Group, here at Staffordshire University, are currently undertaking projects in a variety of areas surrounding microplastics and plastic pollution.

Currently, they are working collaboratively with the University of Palermo, University of Malta and AquaBioTech on the ‘SeaSweep’ project, to monitor marine litter in European seas using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Another collaborative project they are contributing to is ‘Marine Microplastics: a Multidisciplinary Study Quantifying Sources, rates and sinks’ with the University of Bristol. This project aims to gain a further understanding of the sources, transport and fate of marine microplastics, to assess the risks associated with microplastics in the oceans.

On Wednesday 7th March 2018, the team attended the ‘Plastics in the Ocean: Challenges and Solutions’ conference in Cambridge hosted by the British Antarctic Survey. During the event they disseminated information about two other projects they are undertaking at Staffordshire University.

“We are conducting research into the level of microplastic pollution in freshwater, specifically the River Trent, by collecting sediment and water samples from multiple different locations. We will be collecting these samples along its duration from where it begins in Biddulph Moor, Staffordshire, to where it meets the River Ouse and forms the Humber Estuary in Lincolnshire. This is to ensure that microplastic pollution can be more accurately quantified. Additionally, we are aiming to combine forensic techniques of fibre analysis, contamination prevention, evidence tracking and evaluation with machine learning and computer vision to create a fully automated method for quantifying and characterising macro and micro plastic pollution. “

On the 23rd May 2018, Dr Claire Gwinnett also delivered a presentation on the comparison of analytical techniques for microplastic analysis at the Royal Society of Chemistry Microplastic workshop.

Dr Claire Gwinnett

Finally, we can now announce that our very own Dr Claire Gwinnet has been recognised with a prestigious scholarship for her research into the global problem of microplastics. She is the second person from the School Law, Policing and Forensics to receive this award and is among only 150 people to receive the Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowship this year.

This funding will allow Dr Gwinnett to build on this research by travelling across the USA and Australasia, visiting fellow scientists who also partake in the analysis of microplastics and the education around plastic pollution. She will be working with the Rozalia Project joining them on their 2018 expedition along the Hudson River, sampling microplastics from the river and the air from onboard what is recognised as the greenest sailing research vessel in the world, the famous American Promise.

You can keep update with their research news on Twitter and their Blog.

 

#itsNotOK Public Lecture: Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week

Dr Laura Walton-Williams delivered her first public lecture, #itsnotok, on 6th February for Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week.

The lecture, discussing perceptions of sexual offences, was partly informed by her research in the US and Canada exploring how investigations into sexual assualts could be improved.

White roses and bands were given out to show awareness.

The event also marks the 100 years since women were first allowed to vote.

If you missed the lecture, a video is now available to watch on our Facebook page @StaffsUniLPF here.

2017 Highlights from the Analytical Lab

Simon Cooper and Alison Davidson have been awarded £1146 by the Royal Society of Chemistry Research Fund for the “Evaluation of the use of MonoTrap sampling technology for the recovery and analysis of biological contaminants in water supplies”.

Professor John Cassella (left) and Dr Alison Davidson (right) with students, Richard Price and Abbie Renwick

The Burial Research Group led by Professor John Cassella has been going from strength-to-strength this year with great work from our undergraduates and interns. Ting Ting Chu who interned here last semester has won 2nd place for a Student Poster Prize at the recent BAHID conference.

The (student) Burial Research Group

Alison Davidson completed her PhD this year and graduated in July; she has co-authored three papers which have been submitted to journals. Simon Cooper is now starting his PhD and Alison Davidson and John Cassella are co-supervising him.

Dr Alison Davidson at Graduation in July

Tuesday 19th December saw our first, live Chemistry Christmas Cracker Event hosted by Dr Jodie Dunnett and Dr Alison Davidson.

Alison and Jodie

Jodie, Course Leader for Chemistry, demonstrated ‘Making Silver Nitrate Baubles’, ‘Colouring Christmas Baubles using Poinsettia Colour Indicator’ and ‘Making Fake Snow’.

Dr Jodie Dunnett with her Chemistree

Alison, our Technical Skills Specialist, showed us some specialised analytical chemistry equipment, investigated the ‘Smell of Christmas Trees’ and ‘A Toxic Victorian Christmas’.

Dr Alison Davidson investigating ‘A Toxic Vicorian Christmas’

If you missed the live event, you can still watch the video on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Peacekeeper or Perpetrator: Safeguarding Children from Sexual Abuse

Elizabeth Faulkner, lecturer in Law, and Charlotte Folkes, PhD student within the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, attended an event called ‘Peacekeeper or Perpetrator: Safeguarding Children from Sexual Abuse’ in London, early November.

Charlotte Folkes writes that “this eye-opening event was part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science and showcased research conducted by Professor Rosa Freedman on how best to safeguard children from sexual abuse committed by UN peacekeepers. The panellists had a broad range of expertise in this field including academic research, policy and military, which gave the discussion depth and insight. It highlighted the challenges that are faced when looking at sexual offences in conflict-zone, especially when they are committed by someone acting in an official capacity.
The event concluded with a photograph exhibition of the field research being conducted in Liberia and Ghana by Professor Rosa Freedman, and gave us the opportunity to network with the presenters and other guests. It was a truly enjoyable event which presented the issue of sexual offending from a different perspective and has given me some further considerations for my own research.”

Elizabeth Faulkner and Charlotte Folkes

Elizabeth Faulkner stated that “the key issues that arose from the event were issues such as defining accountability, the development of reliable gender sensitive pathways and how to effectively amplify the voices of victims. Arguably, there was one comment made that afforded a hint of cultural imperialism, through the assertion that some countries that offer peacekeepers do not approach human rights in the same way that we do, and therefore don’t prosecute. I understand the “we” to refer to the UK and frequently find perceptions like these problematic in light of my own research into the imperialistic and racial undertones of the contemporary anti-slavery movement.

“The event was interesting from the start and provided a unique opportunity for an interdisciplinary discussion to arise between Charlotte and I about sexual violence generally. The personal highlight of the event was meeting the chair of the event, Emeritus Professor Christine Chinkin, London School of Economics (LSE), whose work has had a significant impact upon development from an undergraduate student with an interest in feminism and international law to the academic I am today. Events like this provide not only interesting content but the fantastic opportunity to network with a diverse and dynamic group. Thank you to all who contributed to the organisation of such a wonderful event and to the FCO for hosting.”

The event was organsied by Prof. Rose Freedman of the University of Reading and hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Oiffce in London.

 

Sociology Research into Breastfeeding Gets Recognition at Conference

Staff and students from Sociology and Criminology were delighted to get joint 2nd place at the CHAD Symposium, on Thursday 9th November 2017, for their research poster presentation on the Attitudes of Adolescents Towards Breastfeeding.

The poster gave detail on the current research project and outlined the research process for data collection. Two undergraduate students, Joni Wilson and Sarah Johnson, are working on the project and attended the conference. Sarah Johnson said “yesterday was a very eye-opening day for me to understand fully the impact that social research can have on addressing social barriers in society. I met some truly inspirational people who have made me excited to work on this coming project and getting second place solidified the belief that the research I’m taking part in will make a positive difference”. Joni also enthused about the event and stated that she was enjoying gaining invaluable experience by working on the project.

Students, Joni Wilson and Sarah Johnson

‘This research is being carried out for Public Health at the City Council and the Stoke-on-Trent Breastfeeding Steering Group. The project is funded by CHAD (Centre for Health and Development). On a sociological level we are interested in how people respond to breastfeeding. Legislation supports breastfeeding in public and yet breastfeeding mums have reported in the media being harassed for feeding their children in public places. We are exploring what young people think about breastfeeding and how breastfeeding could become more normalised in society here in the UK.

Increasing breastfeeding rates would help to reduce poverty, as breastmilk is free in comparison to the cost of formula milk and affiliated paraphernalia. Breastfeeding also has been proven to improve the health and wellbeing of both mother and baby. Despite the positive impact of breastfeeding the UK have the lowest rates in Europe. We are consulting with young people to find out what needs to happen to change this and to cultivate a breastfeeding culture within Stoke-on-Trent and more widely in the UK. We will also be finding out professionals’ points of view on the ideas that young people have, in order for the Stoke-on-Trent Breastfeeding Steering Group to prioritise future action.’

Students, Jonie Wilson and Sarah Johnson with Senior Lecturer, Sarah Page and Andrea Muirhead (Public Health)

Sarah Page (Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology and principle researcher for this project) said that “I am really excited that we are able to explore this topic and employ students to work on professional research in partnership with colleagues from Public Health from the local authority and health. The experience students get by working on projects like this is fantastic and sets them up for future employment really well. There is a lot of satisfaction in knowing that your research makes a real difference in society. Having a research partnership where findings influence how a budget is spent and how work is prioritised in a City, is a great way to link research to improving practice. We are thrilled that our research poster was so well received at the CHAD Symposium and that leaders in the field voted for us.”

If you want to find out more about this research please contact Sarah.Page@staffs.ac.uk