26 February 2016 16:03

A Lancaster University statistician is working on an international project to develop forensics techniques to help inform criminal courts.

Dr David Lucy, of Lancaster’s Mathematics and Statistics department, is working with the Netherlands’ National Forensics Institute (NFI), to develop a method of working out how likely it is that glass fragments found on suspects came from crime scenes.

Broken glass is often found at crime scenes such as burglaries, assaults (where a bottle was used as a weapon) or hit and run car accidents. Forensics laboratories are able to analyse the fragments of glass to examine their physical and chemical properties – such as the elements that it is made from.

Dr Lucy uses statistical techniques such as multivariate analysis to provide a court with an estimate of the likelihood ratios, or strength of evidence, that glass fragments found on a suspect came from the same piece of glass found at the crime scene.

Dr Lucy said: “This form of evaluation of evidence is not currently used in the United Kingdom jurisdictions, but has been used to help inform criminal proceedings in several European countries – including the Netherlands and Poland."

The SAILR project is set to run until 2017 and has been funded by the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI).

More information about Mathematics and Statistics at Lancaster University is available by visiting http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/maths/.