Making an impact on gun crime

Voice distortion technology is being used to help tackle gun crime on London’s streets by protecting the anonymity of witnesses.

Apr 24, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Voice distortion technology is being used to help tackle gun crime on London’s streets by protecting the anonymity of witnesses.

Impact Marcom, the audiovisual specialists, has been working with Trident, the Metropolitan Police initiative to tackle shootings amongst London’s black communities. It has provided innovative voice distortion technology designed to protect anonymity of witnesses in the courtroom. It is hoped it will encourage more people to come forward regarding gun-related crimes in the capital.

Set up in 1998 to help bring an end to a spate of shootings and murders amongst young black Londoners, Trident ran a series of events in and around London’s black communities during February to explain the ‘special measures’ now being used at court to protect witnesses. Impact Marcom was on hand to demonstrate its technology, allowing residents see first-hand the level of security it offered.

In 2005-6, Trident succeeded in sending down gun-related criminals for a total of 852 years.

Julian Philips, managing director at Impact Marcom, said: “Despite significant advances in forensic science, convictions for serious crimes are still dependent on first-hand witness statements.

“In cases of community gun crime, witnesses can be reluctant to come forward. By using specially-designed voice distortion technology, witnesses can deliver their evidence in court with complete anonymity regardless of age, gender, ethnic background, or regional accent.”

The hi-tech solution from Impact Marcom was designed closely with Trident. It makes certain the voice cannot be identified. By changing elements such as the pitch, depth, and speed of the voice, it ensures the accent, gender, age cannot be detected. Used in the courtroom, the defendant and all members of the public gallery will not be able to hear the witness’ true voice.

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