Rob, you manage FEE which takes place annually in London. Tell us a bit about your role: what does the average day look like?
As event manager, my job in a nutshell is to bring together the UK & International forensics community for a 2 day conference and exhibition in April, at a unique networking showcase in central London. Not unlike most industries, efficient & intelligent sales and marketing are the key drivers to success and I insist that both of these groups understand the industry within which they operate: they must get into the DNA (excuse the pun) of forensics to enable them to make informed decisions.My sales team will speak with worldwide forensic product suppliers and sell to them the huge benefits of taking exhibition space at the event. At the same time my marketers work assiduously with media partners and data sources in ensuring that key national and international procurement professionals, from police and law enforcement agencies amongst others, are attending the event to network and ultimately buy products from our supplier community.
Exhibiting at FEE is an excellent marketing, sales and networking opportunity and companies can make many reliable sales connections and leads in just two days of showcasing and networking. This year, in particular, there is a huge developing interest in Digital Forensics from both the public and private sectors. As a result of this increased interest we have increased the size of our dedicated Digital Forensics Zone at the show.
What was it that first sparked your interest in forensics as a field?
I fell into it really – my background in event management has primarily been based around managing and organising security exhibitions and conferences. The synergies between Security and forensics are obvious so the forensics industry is a perfect extension to our existing events.
Why do you think events like FEE are important for forensic investigators to attend?
Listening and learning from experts. Nothing beats the face-to-face contact that you get at an exhibition and the opportunity to glean information from both exhibitors and the stellar conference speaker line up. It is the only environment where you are able to see live demonstrations and make informed purchasing decisions. The internet can only take you to a certain place but nothing is better than touching and feeling products and building relationships whilst talking to real experts. Forensics Europe Expo offers professionals a unique learning and networking platform that helps progress their careers and personal development. Attending FEE each year ensures that investigators, laboratory manager, crime-scene officers and forensic analysts are kept up to date with all the latest knowledge whilst enabling procurement channels to the most innovative and up to date products available anywhere in the world.
What makes Forensics Europe Expo a unique event?
Forensics Europe Expo is now established as the ‘must attend’ event for the entire forensic sector and supply chain. It’s the only international exhibition & conference that showcases the latest equipment and services as well as providing the definitive source of education, best practice, training and networking. The unique quality of this event is active collaboration between all sectors that use forensic science in their daily professional life, sharing their knowledge, case studies and innovative techniques. Forensics Europe Expo will take you on a journey starting at the scene of crime and finishing in the courtroom. Unlike any other event, FEE offers a unique 360 degree viewpoint of the entire forensics industry; whether your interest is in laboratory equipment, scene of crime, digital investigation or forensic analysis, FEE is the place to be.
What has been the most remarkable piece of technology you have seen at Forensics Europe Expo?
Magnet Forensics ‘Internet Evidence Finder’ (IEF) is an extraordinary piece of kit. IEF is a digital forensics software solution now being used by thousands of forensics professionals around the world to find, analyse and present digital evidence found on computers, smartphones and tablets. Designed for forensics professionals who must recover digital evidence from computers, smartphones and tablets, an IEF Search finds hundreds of digital forensic artifacts by parsing and carving data from allocated and unallocated space. I’m also extremely excited by FILM from 3rd Forensic and the effective management of CCTV images and the use of super recognisers as a powerful tool in the fight against crime.
What would you say have been the biggest developments in the industry over the past year?
Forensic science is constantly evolving in conjunction with changes in the types of crimes committed. Crime is falling, but it is also changing. Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show that there were an estimated 6.5 million crimes in the year to June 2015. This is an 8% decrease compared with last year and the lowest estimate since
the CSEW began in 1981.
Police Recorded Crime shows a long-term shift away from ‘traditional’ volume crime, such as burglary and theft from a vehicle, and an increase in offences with a digital element, such as child sexual abuse and indecent imagery offences. The shift to digital not only enables new types of crime, but also means that traditional crimes can be committed in ways that leave a digital as well as a physical trail. There is now far more emphasis on the importance of digital evidence at all phases of investigation. Rapid Hit DNA analysis is also having a huge effect on how crime scenes are investigated. With the digital forensics market expected to expand by 125% by the year 2020, learning how to mitigate against crimes with a digital element is critical.
Visitors to Forensics Europe Expo will be able to see the latest digital forensics technology and solutions from around the world in action and learn about the most recent technological advancements from a host of stellar speakers within the event conference programme.
Forensics is a global marketplace. What are your thoughts on the UK’s role when it comes to setting international standards?
The UK has been at the forefront of forensic science for decades and has lead the way in the innovation and development of forensic investigation. The UK is the only jurisdiction with a Forensic Science Regulator. Standards in the UK are already mandatory and the newly published strategy makes it clear that there is an intention to give the Forensic Science Regulator statutory powers and the right to investigate non- compliance. The first day of the conference at Forensics Europe Expo will examine how the forensic science landscape has changed over the years and ways in which professionals can work collaboratively in order to produce the best standards.
Where do you stand on getting young people into the industry – how important do you consider forensic funding at universities?
Forensic science is an exciting career path and making sure that the younger generation understand the opportunities within the industry is vital. Forensic science at university level is still booming with many extremely popular courses available nationwide. These courses are a great way of capturing the interest of both under & post graduates who may not otherwise study science. The education and learning zone at FEE is an ideal opportunity to meet with course leaders and fellow academics and is open to all levels of students and those interested in a career in forensic science.
Rob Lozowski is the Event Manager for the Forensics Europe Expo, which takes place in London on the 19th-20th of April 2016. To find out more and register as an attendee, visit the FEE website.