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Met man becomes 3rd Forensic chief

A former senior Metropolitan Police counter-terror man has joined 3rd Forensic Limited as CEO.

Steve Swain, a former Detective Chief Superintendent with the Met’s Counter Terror Unit (PICTU) at the time of 9-11, brings operational experience in criminal investigation. 3rd Forensic has developed the “FILM” database (Forensic Image Linking and Management). According to the company FILM enables police to get more from image evidence than previously possible – making use of images from CCTV and other sources.

The Met is the first force to adopt FILM, under Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, Head of the Met Central Forensic Image Team. DCI Neville is well known for his work in promoting use of CCTV. FILM gained a security industry award at the Security & Policing Exhibition 2013 at Farnborough.

Since FILM came in, successful identifications of suspects in CCTV images in London has risen from three per cent to 13 per cent.

In Operation Withern, dealing with the crime and disorder after the London street riots of August 2011, FILM was confirmed as an aid, even when a suspect’s face was not visible in CCTV images gathered. When a face is hidden by a balaclava, scarf or hood, identification can be made using the other descriptive data held in FILM.

Steve Swain said: “As a former police officer I know only too well the vital role that CCTV and other images can play in many investigations. With the right technology, images can be as effective as DNA and fingerprinting – usually at a much lower cost. Yet, historically, images haven’t been given the same attention and emphasis as DNA and fingerprinting – and crime clear-up rates have suffered as a result. The introduction of FILM gives police forces the opportunity to bring about an important culture change in the way CCTV and other images are managed – effectively making image management the third forensic science.”


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