Published: 17 June 2016

Computer science academics win crime prevention award

Two academics from the Department of Computer Science have been awarded a prize from the Home Office International Crime and Policing Conference for their research on preventing online grooming.

Dr Anna Vartapetiance and Dr Lee Gillam were presented with the best poster award for “the most potential to inform thinking about how to prevent crime”, as voted by the participants and the organisers of the conference. Anna received the award from Professor Bernard Silverman, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Home Office.

The present focus of their work is on detection of child sexual predators and prevention of online grooming and child abuse. The importance of tackling this issue was identified at the conference in speeches bythree government ministers (Minister for Internet Safety and Security Baroness Joanna Shields, Home Secretary Theresa May and Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime Karen Bradley).

In addition to Anna and Lee’s work on online grooming detection, the Department’s Dr Haiyue Yuan also presented a poster on the POLARBEAR project, funded by Innovate UK, which is about forensic vehicle convoy analysis of ANPR (automated number plate recognition) data. This is a joint effort with Thales UK Ltd and Surrey Police.

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