Fourth annual Leica Geosystems conference underscores company’s commitment to UK policing

Leica Geosystems, a leading global provider of hardware and software solutions for geospatial surveying, has once again shown its support for police work with a 2-day conference held last week at its headquarters in Milton Keynes.

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Milton Keynes, 21 February 2020 – Leica Geosystems, a leading global provider of hardware and software solutions for geospatial surveying, has once again shown its support for police work with a 2-day conference held last week at its headquarters in Milton Keynes.

The annual conference is offered free of charge to police officers and civilians working in road collision investigation and forensic crime scene investigations. For the first time, the conference was spread over two days – with a dedicated focus on collision investigation on 12 February and a day about crime scene investigation on 13 February. The event was attended by 104 people from 30 organisations, from Avon and Somerset Police to Northumbria Police via The Met, British Transport Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

A busy programme of speakers enabled delegates to share innovative new applications for geospatial technology; get vital updates about the imminent requirement for investigators to be accredited to ISO 17020 and 17025; to network with colleagues from other forces; and to get hands-on experience with the latest new technologies available from Leica Geosystems.

Mike Skicko is the UK Public Safety Lead for forensics and collision investigation at Leica Geosystems. “Collision and crime-scene investigators do essential work under very challenging conditions,” he says. “For their sake and the sake of the public who depend on them, these investigators deserve to be supported by the very best technology. Against a backdrop of budget cuts in public services, Leica Geosystems is doing what it can to share best practice and showcase the technology available. We help forces to see how geospatial technology can be used to investigate major incidents and to secure the right convictions more easily. We also help to make the procurement process as pain-free as possible.”

The conference sessions included:

ISO accreditation

Four senior speakers gave updates on progress towards the looming deadlines for all forces towards accreditation to ISO 17020 (crime scene investigation) and 17025 (testing and calibration laboratories):

  • Dr Anya Hunt – Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
  • Frances Senior – NPCC Specialist Capability Manager in Forensic Collision Investigation
  • Richard Auty – NPCC Forensic Collision Investigation Network
  • Dan Sharp – Senior Imaging Officer, West Yorkshire Police.

Frances Senior reminded delegates that “Accreditation is coming like a steam train”, while Dan Sharp pointed out that it is a “massive undertaking” which needs “meticulous planning and organisation”.

Technology applications

  • Phil Walker from Lancashire Constabulary explained how his force had acquired a Leica RTC360 scanner to commence their switch to digital 3D modelling for crash investigations
  • Russ Gardner of South Wales Police described his force’s journey from paper-based measurement to digital reality capture using the Leica BLK360 scanner at major crime scenes
  • Mark Gascoigne from Nottinghamshire Police spoke about using Leica total stations and GNSS smart poles to accurately capture crash scenes and get roads re-opened faster.

Technical applications of digital modelling

Leica Geosystems teams from the UK and Switzerland outlined how Leica hardware and software can be used to permanently capture an entire scene, achieving fast, accurate 3D models which can easily be understood in a courtroom. This included the use of Leica scanners to rapidly analyse blood spatters, removing the need to use painstaking and error-prone manual methods such as stringing.

New products and technologies

Delegates had a rare opportunity to see and get hands-on with a range of Leica equipment, including:

  • The Aibot AX20 intelligent aerial surveying UAV (drone)
  • The brand-new BLK2GO hand-held imaging laser scanner
  • The RTC360 easy-to-deploy scanner for fast results in complex situations
  • The BLK360 compact imaging laser scanner with panoramic HDR cameras
  • The Leica GS18 T, the world's fastest GNSS RTK rover smart pole

Conference delegates were also able to experience the new virtual reality crime-scene training suite developed by RiVR using Leica Geosystems scanners. The system enables police forces to consistently and cost-efficiently deliver sophisticated training to forensic investigators and technicians from the safety of the classroom.

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