Tracking Criminals With SatNav Detective

7 September 2011

Cadd-0214

Ben Cadd, 21, began working with Nottinghamshire Constabulary in the final year of his BSc (Hons) Maths and Computing degree

Working with Nottinghamshire Constabulary's e-Crime Unit has been great, allowing me to see how my project would need to work in practice

Ben Cadd

A hi-tech aid which would help police investigators track the past movements of a crime suspect or victim is being developed by a University of Derby student.

Ben Cadd, 21, began working with Nottinghamshire Constabulary in the final year of his BSc (Hons) Maths and Computing degree to develop a computer program which could unlock the journey information hidden inside a vehicle's satellite navigation (sat nav) system. After completing his course this summer (2011) he is now continuing to work on the project with the force, voluntarily.

Computer forensics - downloading information from mobile phones, computers and in-car devices to gather criminal evidence - is becoming increasingly important to police forces.

The variety of technical devices and brands available means that often individual programs need to be written to retrieve information from each one. Some police forces have turned to outside agencies, such as universities like Derby, for research help.

Realising there was only a computer forensics program for the most popular brand of sat nav system, TomTom, Ben began creating one for another popular brand, Garmin. He is keen to go on to develop ones for other makes and eventually set up a consultancy firm working for police forces.

Ben, originally from Suffolk but now based in Derby, said: "The program I'm working on is designed to look at how the sat nav system's computer stores its files of information and extract what's needed by the investigating officers.

"For example, they might need to confirm where the suspect or victim in a crime has been, or locate the owner of an abandoned vehicle. In the past the use of similar investigation techniques in the UK have been able to link a single vehicle and its owner to a series of bank robberies.

"Working with Nottinghamshire Constabulary's e-Crime (electronic crime) Unit has been great, allowing me to see how my project would need to work in practice."

Ben said the flexibility of his degree lecturers had allowed him to pursue his interest in this branch of computer forensics. This month (September) he will continue his studies at the University of Derby by joining its Masters degree in Computer Forensics.

Sergeant Leslie Charlton, Head of Nottinghamshire Constabulary's e-Crime Unit, added: "The work Ben is doing will apply professional skills to the gathering of evidence and intelligence from these digital devices. It is vitally important that forensically sound methods, that can be consistently reproduced, are used in their analysis.

"Prosecution cases can be won and lost on technical matters such as these."

For further information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email s.kirby@derby.ac.uk.

Use of personal data

Our policy is to only use the data you supply to us for use in regard to the work of the University of Derby. We do not pass on your data to any other third party under any circumstances.

© Copyright University of Derby 2014 | Accessibility | Privacy and cookies | Site map | Disclaimer | Freedom of Information | Company info | About us as a charity | Trademarks of the University of Derby | Staff admin