Delegates attending a meeting on the role of science in criminal investigation were presented with the uncomfortable news.
Delegates attending a meeting on the role of science in criminal investigation were presented with the uncomfortable news that a third of them probably had some form of criminal record and almost everyone who’d been to university had bordered on date-rape territory by either spiking someone’s drinks or having their own drinks spiked.
Criminality estimates may have been on the high side, conceded conference chair Gloria Laycock, director of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science in London, given the mixed-sex audience largely composed of upstanding chemists, biologists and physicists (females are less likely to have criminal records, and chemists, as anyone reading this magazine will know, are beyond reproach). The important thing to note, she says, is that this is not simple ’them and us’ territory.
Scientists, politicians and lawyers were attending an event organised jointly by the Institute of Physics, the RSC, and the Institute of Biology held to highlight the inherently cross-disciplinary nature of forensic science. The role of science in preventing crime must not be underestimated, says Laycock. Politicians - and particularly London’s mayoral candidates - overemphasise the need for bobbies on the beat, she says, when advances in science and technology have clearly played a central role in decreasing Home Office crime figures by about 25 per cent over the past five years.