France’s Gendarmerie Nationale General Headquarters, in Issy-Les-Moulineaux near Paris, hosted CEPOL course “Forensic Science and Policing: Forensic interpretation and Intelligence” on 18-22 June 2012. The activity was implemented by the Forensic and Criminal Intelligence Agency and Forensic Sciences Research Institute of the Gendarmerie Nationale. The course was supported by Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Europol.
Twenty-five participants, all investigators and/or forensic practitioners, from 19 Member States attended the event. Managed by Colonel Frank Crispino, the course was opened with presentations by General Hebrard and Colonel Daoust, from the Gendarmerie Nationale. During the following days expert lecturers took the floor: Br. Gen. Schuliar, LCL Servettaz, LCL Depriester, Cne Brunel-Dupin and discussed investigations on crime scenes especially the coordination of interveeners, the traces on the crime scenes and the beginning of interpretation.
External experts Prof. Esseiva and Prof. Champod from Switzerland respectively presented “Chemical Profiling and Backtrack Investigations - Preparation of Criminal Charges. A Swiss and European Perspective” and “One Logical and Illustrative Approach for Different Traces: Bayesian Networks”. M. Van Renterghem, Europol, gave a lecture entitled “Exploiting DNA Data to Combat International Crime - Understanding the flow of Forensic Information in the EU” whilst the National Police improvement Agency (NPIA) representative from the UK, M. Wilson, presented “The value of footwear intelligence for police investigations”. Both presentations were highly appreciated and well received by all of the course participants. Last but not least, subsequent to the lecture “the Forensic Advisor” led by Ms Barret (INCC), participants were kept busy with case studies organized by Ms Barret and implemented by the whole training team.
At the end of the course, it emerged that due to technological evolution, forensic science is becoming more and more efficient and meaningful in the lead of judicial investigations. For ages, the trace was only considered as proof of the existence of an item or judicial fact: a piece of evidence. Today, we have to consider that a trace is not as limited anymore. Indeed, trace interpretation which will be done, would certainly help to solve judicial cases; but an extensive interpretation, taking into account its limits, will prove really useful at strategic level in determining the political future of security forces.