An innovative new research centre is being launched to address global challenges in crime, justice and security.
Visitors from around the world will be attending the official launch of the Centre for Crime, Justice and Security (CCJS) on Wednesday 6 April at Staffordshire University’s main Stoke-on-Trent campus.
Professor Claire Gwinnett, Director for the Centre of Crime, Justice and Security, explained: “This builds on many years of academic excellence and research expertise in this specialist field and the main focus for the centre is addressing justice in all of its forms. We are trying to investigate, improve and promote justice for the greater good, ultimately at a national and international level.
“Our research, enterprise, innovation and our collaborations with lots of different partners has built up over the years and now is the time to bring that together in a way that really consolidates what that we do.”
The CCJS brings together an interdisciplinary community of experts in forensic science, policing, law, sociology, criminology, data science and computing to conduct nationally and internationally leading research, consultancy, innovation, enterprise and knowledge exchange.
This involves academics, postgraduate researchers and students from Staffordshire University working alongside the police, forensic science providers, government organisations, private companies and NGOs on impactful, evidence-based projects in all aspects of social and criminal justice.
A current example is a collaboration with the Home Office and Staffordshire Police which examines how effective forensic science is in police case work. The research looks specifically at Operation Safenet, a dedicated online child abuse investigation team, and how effective digital forensics and early triage are used in such cases.
In another current project, postgraduate researcher Asya Khatoon is working with Yorkshire Police to investigate whether creases and features of the back of the hand, fingers, and thumbs can identify individuals and be used as evidence within criminal investigations.
Professor Gwinnett added: “We want to have a real impact in the world. We are very ambitious in our goals and we want to contribute to global change in a positive way from the things that we do.
“We also really like to get students involved in real world challenges which will ultimately make them highly employable. We have students who are authors on important peer-reviewed journal articles, and students listed against inventions and patents. It is not just doing a degree; it is knowing that they are making a change even before they have left Staffordshire University.”
The CCJS also provide services including a student-led Legal Advice Clinic and Forensic Advice Clinic which offer free advice to organisations and the community. Other services include a Cold Case Unit, in collaboration with the Centre for Archaeology, which revisits unsolved crimes and missing person cases, plus a Mediation Centre which provides mediation services, advice and training.
The launch event will provide a range of key stakeholders, including police forces, with an opportunity to learn more about the work of the CCJS and network with experts across a broad range of related disciplines. Further projects will be also shared during a mini conference on the day.
Dr Laura Walton-Williams, Director of Business and Enterprise for the School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, added: “If you are a local business, a regional or national employer interested in us delivery some CPD training, or working on a collaborative project, then please get in touch. We would be really happy to have a conversation and see how we can help you.”