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Shoe specialist keeps cops a step ahead

PUBLISHED: 13:49 21 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:05 06 July 2010

SUFFOLK police have said employing a shoe specialist to keep one step ahead of the criminals is paying dividends.

A dedicated footwear expert is now being used whenever a thief puts their foot in it at a crime scene, leaving tell-tale clues behind them.

SUFFOLK police have said employing a shoe specialist to keep one step ahead of the criminals is paying dividends.

A dedicated footwear expert is now being used whenever a thief puts their foot in it at a crime scene, leaving tell-tale clues behind them.

The relatively new position within Suffolk Constabulary has led to the downfall of persistent offenders who have committed more than 50 crimes, according to a report for the county's police authority.

On Friday members of the authority will hear the force's footwear intelligence post, a civilian role, has been responsible for solving dozens of burglaries and vehicle offences already this year.

Furthermore, papers prepared for the authority's meeting state that a National Footwear Reference collection will be implemented, along with additional software for identifying all sorts of shoes, boots and trainers.

The current process of assessing shoeprints is similar to analysing fingerprints from crime scenes.

Although footwear intelligence has been used for more than a year, a dedicated resource for aid to crime-fighting did not come into effect until the end of last year.

The job had previously been part of the work done by scenes of crime officers in Suffolk.

However, now it has become a specialism with a member of staff appointed to work in this field of expertise.

The post of footwear intelligence officer is based at the constabulary's scientific headquarters in Halesworth.

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