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3D laser scanning and visualisation for Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Assessing the suitability of technical solutions for analysing blood patterns at crime scenes.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Professor Mark Williams
Police region
West Midlands
Collaboration and partnership

West Midlands Police.

Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

WMG’s forensic centre has access to a wide range of 3D scanning and visualisation technologies that can and have been applied in support of criminal investigations in the UK.

The aim of this project is to assess the suitability of the available technologies for scanning scenes requiring bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA). This includes the investigation through to presentation at court. 3D laser scanning and point-cloud software may offer an opportunity to support these processes.

WMG has produced 3D scene scan models that have been used in homicide investigations and this PhD will provide further opportunities for police to utilise these particular tools and methods.

Currently, the academic scope of the project includes researching the effects of introducing 3D crime scene models in the UK’s courts for contextual evidence presentation. The project aims to also examine the accuracy, validity and utility of software for calculating the area of origin for impact blood patterns.

The project seeks to provide new methods through the utilisation of 3D scanning technologies in order to assist police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in improving expert witness presentation and juror understanding of complex evidence.

This project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and West Midlands Police between September 2019 to September 2023.

Research methodology

This project includes a case-study methodology, facilitated by the partnership between the University and West Midlands Police. This involves the researcher and forensic scientists at WMP implementing a scene scanning workflow to homicide crime scenes that require BPA.

The researcher produces 3D models of the BPA scenes for the forensic scientists to present in internal debriefing processes and in court presentation. The researcher then collects notes on the perceived impact of the modelling on the Criminal Justice System, and collects qualitative data from interviews with key personnel.

Interim reports or publications

Home PH, Norman DG and Williams MA. (2021). Software for the trajectory analysis of blood-drops: A systematic review. Forensic Science International, 328, 110992.

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