Forensic start-ups choose The Sharp Project
The Sharp Project, Manchester’s digital content production complex in east Manchester has become the base for a growing number of companies that specialise in forensics.
Digital forensics is developing fast as a specialism within the wider digital sector. A whole range of crimes can use digital forensic methods to secure a conviction, and many would probably not be resolved if it wasn’t for new technology and techniques. Digital forensics can make the entire process more efficient and cost effective, making it popular with the Government, solicitors firms and the Courts.
Expert witness firm, Aequitas Forensics, specialises in three aspects of forensics. These include digital forensics which includes obtaining historical data from computers, mobile telephones and sat nav devices and the geographical placing of a mobile device when in use. In addition to digital evidence, Aequitas also provide experts services in trace evidence, arson and drugs forensics that includes analysing DNA and firearms and cellsite analysis. Serving both the legal industry and private sector the company’s case load ranges from murder and terrorism to fraud and drug related incidents.
Glen Siddall, a former management accountant from Middleton who used to work for a criminal law firm, founded of Aequitas Forensics in 2011 admits: “I got into forensics by accident when I worked on a computer crime job and was sent on a course. I’ve been at The Sharp Project for two years now. We were the first forensics company to locate here but now there’s a good little hub and we share resources. I discovered The Sharp Project by chance when driving by one day as I had a lab in Failsworth and needed office space. Having 24 access and being right next to GMP’s HQ is perfect for us. We’re now a team of three and I can honestly say I’ve never looked back. ”
Also new to The Sharp Project from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are Jayne Leponis and Wendy Lomas-Williams whose company Moving Image is passionate about imagery. Jayne, a former TV camerawoman, became a specialist in CCTV for GMP while business partner Wendy is an expert in finger print photography. As well as having a commercial strand to the business which includes wedding film and photography, Moving Image offers facial recognition, forensic photography and CCTV services to solicitors.
Jayne Leponis from Moving Image said: “It’s a belting place and a real hive of activity. You wouldn’t believe a couple of rows of tin huts in a warehouse could let off so much vibrancy. We couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Wendy Lomas-Williams added: “We both enjoyed working for the police force but wanted to return to the creative industries sector. Working in forensics makes a real difference for victims and we can give unbiased evidence. We’re really pleased to bring our skills to The Sharp Project and be part of this burgeoning hub.”
Ken Bagshaw was the head of the Forensic Crime Scene Survey Unit for Greater Manchester Police for 19 years. After starting his business, 3DSi in November 2011, he has recently decided to relocate to The Sharp Project due to the burgeoning forensic community, fantastic facilities and high security. With Greater Manchester Police new headquarters also located next door, its positioning was ideal. A leading practitioner in 3D laser scanning for forensics, his company 3DSi, uses state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning to help with crime scene reconstruction. He also acts as a consultant and trainer to countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Ken, Managing Director of 3Dsi explains: “We scan the incident scene so it can be viewed on a screen from literally any angle or perspective. The technology allows investigators and jurors to remotely view a crime scene, easing their understanding of the evidence. This in turn can enable considerable cost savings, speeding up court cases and making the judicial process a lot faster.”
Ken continued: “We have a flourishing forensic presence here at The Sharp Project. We’re fast becoming a one-stop-shop. The Sharp Project is a great place to network and be part of a larger creative community. Being part of a digital environment means if we need support, there’s always someone in the building that may be able to offer assistance, whether that’s animators or software developers. Security is also fantastic which is crucial for our type of business.”
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