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Improving Forensic Methodologies across Europe (IFMAE)

Forensic methods need to be continuously reviewed and updated. Promoting cooperation between various European forensic science institutes through an exchange of best practice ensures that this is taking place across the whole of Europe.

Project dates 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2015
FundISEC
TopicForensics
Total budget€680 981
EU contribution95%
Project CoordinatorEuropean Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) (The Netherlands)
Project partners
  • Bavarian State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Institute (Germany)
  • Central Forensic Laboratory of the Polish Police (Poland)
  • Centre for Applied Science and Technology (UK)
  • Criminalistic Service of the Civil Guard, Madrid (Spain)
  • Criminalistic Services Cyprus Police (Cyprus)
  • Eolaiocht Fhoireinseach Eireann (‘Forensic Science Ireland’) (EFE-Dublin) (Ireland)
  • Forensic Science Institute (BKA-Wiesbaden) (Germany)
  • Forensic Science Institute (LKA-Wiesbaden) (Germany)
  • Institute of Criminalistics, Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Forensic Science Institute, Berlin (Germany)
  • Department of Forensic Science (Germany)
  • Metropolitan Police Service (UK)
  • National Bureau of Investigation Forensic Laboratory (Finland)
  • National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology (Belgium)
  • National Laboratory of Forensic Science (Sweden)
  • Netherlands Forensic Institute (The Netherlands)
  • Scottish Police Services Authority Forensic Services (UK)
  • State Criminal Police Office - Department of Forensic Science (Germany)
  • Associate Partners
    • Canada Border Services Agency (Canada)
    • Forensic Science Institute (Switzerland)
    • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland)

    Project Description

    In recent years, the investigation and prosecution of crime has come to rely very heavily on forensic science. The rise in serious international criminality (e.g. trafficking in human beings, organised crime, terrorism) requires increased cooperation between countries. It is therefore important that each country can rely on the forensic methods being used in other countries.

    Forensic science is not a static discipline – forensic methods continuously need to be reviewed, revised and improved. Such work often takes place within individual laboratories and within a given country, making use of local experience and research. Such isolated developments can lead to an uneven spread of best practice across Europe.

    To ensure current forensic methods are updated and improved across the board, this project promotes cooperation between various forensic science institutes across Europe. This cooperation will cover areas where there is a recognised lack of understanding, a requirement for method comparison, scope for shared information and the need for new research.

    Partners will address specific areas of forensic science, such as: methods used to date handwriting by analysis of ink marks; methods used for the examination and comparison of textile fibres; analytical methods used to compare human voices and the interpretation of related evidence; methods used for enhancing still images and video footage to aid criminal investigations.

    Benefits and results

    Forensic examinations cover a large number of scientific disciplines and many of the current problems in forensic methodology are hard to solve using resources from a single laboratory or a single country. There are clear advantages to be gained through international cooperation.

    The project is focused on identifying the best methodologies for specific forensic examinations and then sharing the results across the whole European forensic community. Proposed outputs include an experimental study on old documents using the resins/binders within ballpoint inks and an online database on textile fibres, available to forensic examiners and investigators.

    Best Practice Manuals (BPM) will be produced, covering different areas of activity. One will provide guidelines for speaker voice recognition, along with the results of a collaborative study comparing the performance of phonetic experts with automatic speaker recognition methods.

    A systematic collaborative study to compare current ink dating methods will lead to the creation of a second BPM, while a third BPM will cover Forensic Image and Video Enhancement (FIVE) and will be the product of a survey of FIVE activity across Europe as well as collaborative exercises between laboratories.

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