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Officer receives international award for groundbreaking footprint system

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Scanner will now be installed in every Met custody suite.

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An officer, whose groundbreaking work has the capacity to “change policing”, has been honoured with an international award.

Met Detective Inspector Julie Henderson created a digitised footprint system – the equivalent of the fingerprint system – after becoming frustrated that offenders were getting away with crimes because of the antiquated system of storing footwear prints on paper.

The out-of-date system meant only three per cent of officers would take footwear prints from suspects, resulting in evidence being lost.

As a result, DI Henderson researched how to make digital footwear prints the same as the national fingerprint system, so officers could take a scan of the footwear as part of the custody process which could then be downloaded and searched nationally.

After finding no other force in the world had developed such a system, she contacted a Chinese company that had developed a footwear scanner which gave her two free of charge.

She approached her senior leadership team and management board at the Met and the Home Office, securing funding for the project and a national trial.

After being seconded to the force’s Capability and Support team to work on the scheme full time, a trial was launched in Colindale which proved a success.

Within 12 months there were 117 detections with an 80 per cent conviction rate, an increase in compliance from three per cent to 70 per cent, a 98 per cent improvement in the speed of results and a 92 per cent decrease in cost per print.

There will soon be a footwear scanner in every Met custody suite and the project is now one of the Commissioner’s Commitments. 

She has been given an award for her efforts from the International Association for Women in Policing, with one of her colleagues saying: “This will change policing as we currently know it.”

View on Police Oracle

 

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