Over recent years the amount of CCTV recovered during investigations of collisions from which vehicle speed can be calculated has increased dramatically. Historically, the analysis of such footage was the reserve of scientists, in particular the Forensic Science Service. However, the closure of the FSS coincided with the continued increase in the availability of CCTV. This prompted a significant amount of research into the subject from officers in the MPS and the development of techniques that allowed the use of footage that historically would have been considered unusable. Furthermore, the work increased the operational effectiveness of the SCIU and also saved many thousands of pounds in forensic budgets for work that would otherwise have been out-sourced.
Presenter: Roads and Transport Policing Command OCU Commander, Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove
Research that spanned a period of about 6 years culminated in the publication of 'Video Analysis in Collision Reconstruction' by Mark Crouch and PC Steve Cash, a practical guide aimed at Collision Investigators in the analysis of collision footage. However, with the standard of proof that is required in any investigations being high, the techniques developed required validation.
Professor Roy Davies, based at the Royal Holloway, University of London, is internationally renowned for his expertise in Machine Vision and was known to Mark from his university days. Mark contacted Professor Davies and asked whether he would be able to assist with the research, review the techniques developed and also review the final draft of the published guide. Professor Davies kindly agreed, meeting with Mark Crouch, PC Steve Cash and PC Richard Clark on several occasions to offer his invaluable advice and guidance.
After the final draft of the guide was written Professor Davies, whilst suffering poor health at the time, peer reviewed the guide and wrote a Foreword, effectively validating the years of work to withstand the rigours of the judicial process, therefore adding an unquantifiable value to the work of the MPS. Consequently the guide is now in circulation internationally which has raised the profile of the MPS, and in particular the quality of the work produced by the SCIU accordingly. These techniques now form part of a degree course in Forensic Collision Investigation. Furthermore, Professor Davies gave many hours of his time during the 6-year period without asking for a penny from the Police as he wanted to 'give something back'.
To put it simply, his generosity and experience has saved the MPS tens of thousands of pounds, has secured prosecutions where previously it would not have been possible, but perhaps most of all, has been able to unlock the secrets of the final seconds of someone's life to be able to give grieving families the answers they have so desperately wanted.
Sir, I ask you to commend Professor Davies for his Dedication and Service to the Metropolitan Police Service and Victims of Road Deaths.