Public Release: 

Crime prevention and detection technologies dissemination event: Identification and authentication

EPSRC press release

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

8th March 2005, Institution of Civil Engineers, London

Invitation for Journalists: Detecting Progress in the Fight against Crime

Pioneering technologies designed to aid crime prevention and detection will be highlighted at a major event in London on Tuesday 8th March.

Crime currently costs the UK economy around £50 billion a year and tackling it is widely recognised as an important priority. The forthcoming event, organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will focus on the contribution science and engineering is making in the key areas of identification and authentication.

Developing better ways of proving and protecting people's identity lies at the heart of the drive to combat terrorism, fraud and other types of crime. Recognising this, EPSRC is supporting a wide range of research projects in fields such as identity and identification, biometrics and signature recognition, verification and encryption.

The event, which will be held at the Institution of Civil Engineers, will outline what is being achieved through EPSRC funding in these areas. It will describe current initiatives and summarise the impact of technologies developed as a result of projects that have already been completed.

"The Home Office recognises the need to invest in research that will help to develop new technologies in the fight against crime and terrorism," explains Paul Goggins MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Correctional Services and Reducing Re-offending, "we are pleased to recognise the contribution that the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is making in this area." Paul Goggins MP will be making a keynote address at the event. There will also be presentations by speakers from academia and industry closely involved in developing new identification and authentication technologies. The programme will include question & answer and poster sessions.

EPSRC has an extensive track record in funding research aimed at the prevention and detection of crime. In 2002, it launched a specific Crime Technology Programme to give further momentum to research in this area. Identification and authentication projects account for the majority of research funded through this initiative.


Notes for Editors

To attend the event and the press networking session with presenters and EPSRC Chief Executive, Professor John O'Reilly, please reply to this e-mail with the following details:

Contact e-mail:
Contact telephone number:

Event Agenda

Press Networking Session
Great Hall

Presentations: Telford Theatre
Welcome Address: Professor John O'Reilly, EPSRC

Keynote Address: Paul Goggins, MP
(Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Correctional Services and Reducing Re-offending)

Session 1: Chair Clive Reedman, Emerging Technology Services

Mobilising Science in the Interests of Prevention and Detection
Professor Gloria Laycock
Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science

Advances in Human Identification Science
Dr Martin Evison, University of Sheffield

Implementing Biometrics in the Prison Service
Peter Whitaker, UniLink

Dr Chris Solomon, University of Kent

Future Policing Capabilities in CCTV and Biometrics: Promoting Academic Involvement
Dr Graeme Jones, Kingston University

Panel Q&A session

Chairman's closing

Lunch and Poster Session (I), Great Hall

Presentations: Telford Theatre
Session 2: Chair Professor Michael Fairhurst, University of Kent

The Challenge of Biometrics
Dr Farzin Deravi, University of Kent

Spoken Language Technologies for Identification and Authentication
Professor Martin Russell, University of Birmingham

Ambika Suman, Police Information Technology Organisation

Dr Leslie Bowie, ABM

Poster Session (II) / Refreshments, Great Hall

Presentations: Telford Theatre
Professor Josef Kittler, University of Surrey

Intelligence Underpins Authentication
Dr Ron Mount, The Distillery (Europe) Ltd

Towards a National Centre for Biometrics and Identification Services Professor Michael Fairhurst, University of Kent

Panel Q&A Session

Closing Remarks: Dr Alasdair Rose, EPSRC

Venue Information

The Institution of Civil Engineers is located at One Great George Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA, close to the Houses of Parliament. The nearest tube station is Westminster. The mainline train stations Waterloo, Charing Cross and Victoria are also nearby. For more information on how to get to the ICE, visit the website at:

Examples of EPSRC-funded Research

  • Recognising Faces from Video

    The use of CCTV in security and surveillance operations can make an important contribution to deterring crime and identifying criminals. This has led to rapidly expanding reliance on this technology in recent years. The overall effectiveness of CCTV, however, depends on the ability to recognise faces from the video images. A project led by the University of Sheffield set out to improve understanding of our recognition processes and those of computer models, and so help to develop improved systems for machine-based recognition.

    Integrating a range of scientific disciplines and including leading experts in the fields of human face recognition and image engineering, this 3-year initiative showed how it is possible to estimate what an individual looks like in full-face from another pose (e.g. a profile or a three-quarter view). It also demonstrated how caricatures can be created by modifying the main parameters that make up a mathematical model of a face. Overall, the initiative laid a solid foundation for the development of effective facial recognition systems; since its completion in 2001, part of the project team has gone on to produce a biologically-plausible model of face recognition. The original initiative received EPSRC funding of nearly £198,000.

    For more information, contact: Professor Nigel Allinson, University of Sheffield, Tel: 0114 222 5412, E-mail:

  • Automatic Handwriting Analysis

    Handwriting identification is a widely used forensic technique that can play a key role in providing evidence in fraud, identity theft, and even murder cases. It usually involves examining handwriting visually, but this can introduce an element of subjectivity into the process. Automated handwriting analysis could help to tackle the problem. A research initiative led by the University of Kent is currently assessing ways of harnessing this technique as a useful aid to document inspection in criminal investigations. Working in collaboration with professional document examiners, the project team is looking at how computer-based tools can be used to identify measurable features contained in handwriting samples.

    An important aspect of the project is to explore the relationship between features which have to be inferred by human document inspectors from handwriting samples and measurements which can be made by automated means, in order to develop greater insights into the potential accuracy and effectiveness of the analysis process. Initial data to support this process is currently being assembled. The 3-year initiative, which began in October 2004, is receiving EPSRC funding of just over £250,000 through the Crime Technology Programme.

    For more information, contact: Professor Michael Fairhurst, University of Kent, Tel: 01227 823389, E-mail:

  • ICARIS - International Centre for Advanced Research in Identification Science

    ICARIS is a network that promotes collaboration and communication in the field of human identification science. Involving nearly 100 participants, it aims to promote innovative, inter-disciplinary research that leads to rapid and reliable methods of human identification for use in crime detection. Led by the University of Sheffield, ICARIS includes university researchers as well as others (e.g. the Crown Prosecution Service) with an interest in the research and its implications. This breadth of participation is underpinning the widespread dissemination of understanding and informed opinion in what is a key area of the fight against crime.

    Specifically, ICARIS is focusing on issues such as DNA profiling, craniofacial identification, iris recognition, and the psychology of facial recognition. This 2-year initiative, which began in February 2004, is receiving EPSRC funding of just over £59,000 through the Crime Technology Programme. ICARIS is also supported by the Forensic Science Service, Forensic Alliance, LGC (formerly the Laboratory of the Government Chemist), and the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO).

    For more information, contact: Dr Martin Evison, University of Sheffield, Tel: 114-271-3204, E-mail:; or Stephanie Davy, University of Sheffield, Tel: 0114-271-3046, E-mail:

    The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests more than £500 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. Website address for more information on EPSRC:

    For more information, contact:

    Natasha Richardson, EPSRC Press Office, Tel: 01793 444404, E-mail:

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