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Letters to the editor
03 Sep 2009

Setting the record straight
Dear editor,
I am writing in reference to your recent article entitled Pilot to track crime and terror suspects (See PP, Aug 20, 2009). The article relates to a research project called Odyssey.
Rather than disparage the hopes and claims of others, I would like to set the record straight as to our claim – there is only one time-tested and field-proven ballistics technology solution in the world today that has demonstrated sustained success in the sharing of ballistics data across local, regional, and international jurisdictions – and that is called IBIS, the integrated ballistics identification system.
I speak from over 40 years of experience in crime solving and relying on forensic ballistics analysis as an investigative aid. Thirty of those years have been as a law enforcement officer and senior executive with a major federal law enforcement agency in the US. I am also the senior vice-president at Forensic Technology, the world leader in the development and implementation of automated ballistics technology systems.
As a source of accurate and up-to-date information for police professionals, I am sure that you and your readership would want to know about the latest up-and-running international ballistics information-sharing solution called IBIN, now in place at the world’s police organisation INTERPOL.
The underlying automated ballistics technology used in IBIN is our IBIS technology, used by 47 countries around the world including England, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and other EU countries as well. In fact, the UK has an initiative in place called NABIS which uses IBIS systems to share ballistics data throughout the entire country.
Every shooting scene and crime-gun has a story to tell. A big part of the story lies in the unique markings imprinted on bullets and cartridge cases found at crime scenes. This data must be processed quickly in order to identify armed criminals and stop them from doing more harm.
Field proven and time tested by the world’s forensic science community beginning in 1991, IBIS is generally viewed as the ballistics technology standard by the world’s forensic community. The standardisation of data formatting enables the exchange and cross-processing of data across wide area networks.
IBIS has generated over 50,000 hits worldwide which in turn have linked over 100,000 gun-related crimes which in turn have provided police with crime solving leads not attainable through other means.  
IBIS is also a crossover tool, going from its traditional crime-solving role to an intelligence-generating tool on terrorist-related shootings.
IBIS has evolved through three generations of improvements to include the latest IBISTRAX-3D line of solutions and while it has proven to be a very valuable crime-solving tool, Forensic Technology recognises that it takes committed people and sustainable processes to use it most effectively.
In an effort to provide your readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information on ballistics analysis solutions and data sharing initiatives, I invite you to link to our website www.forensictechnology.com .
I realise that after reading this you and others may well find yourselves questioning the redundancy and the economic prudence of Odyssey project. That, I am sorry, is left for you to determine, not I. 
Pete Gagliardi, senior vice-president, Forensic Technology

Too little, too late

Dear editor,
The Association of Chief Police Officer’s (ACPO) first e-crime strategy published last week highlights the long-term inadequate approach to e-crime and victims.
ACPO states that the most significant challenge is under-reporting and goes on to say that ‘of particular concern is the belief by some victims that the police will not act if they report computer-related crime’.
However, it is our experience, working with hundreds of e-victims, that most of the time police turn e-victims away.  They refuse to take a report, they don’t provide any practical advice, and if they refer e-victims to another organisation it is often to the wrong one.
Internet users will one day be able to report fraud to the National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC). It was supposed to go live last spring, but has been delayed until 2010. The ability for people to report online fraud is long overdue – the equivalent US fraud reporting site has been operating for nine years.
The NFRC will help the police determine, for the first time, the scale of online fraud – but it is primarily a statistics gathering exercise. There is no intention for the centre to investigate someone who was scammed on a classified listing site. Hopefully, it will be used to quickly take down fraudulent websites, although there has been no indication it will do this. 
So victims of fraud may have somewhere to report their crime, sometime next year, but what about the other online incidents that people experience? When you lose money you are upset, but when people are being victimised daily by someone harassing and humiliating them online, the effects can be far more devastating.
The ACPO e-crime strategy does not help a victim whose boyfriend has taken intimate pictures of her and posted them on an adult website, or creates a whole website about her. Harassment is one of the most distressing and difficult problems to resolve and it can’t be solved by the mantra of ‘follow the money’.
Online harassment is a common example of a crime where we get frequent cries for help because the police simply refuse to take a report or assist the victim. Furthermore, the police don’t regard it as in their remit to inform victims that they can take the person to court themselves under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and get a restraining order.
Too little too late is a cliché but in this case it is true. Prevention initiatives have failed to reach the right people with the right range of advice. It leaves organisations such as e-victims.org having to work harder to help victims pick up the pieces.

Jennifer Perry, managing director, E-Victims.Org


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