Tackling knife crime through forensic science: Leisa Nichols-Drew

Tackling knife crime through forensic science: Leisa Nichols-Drew

Tackling knife crime through forensic science: Leisa Nichols-Drew

Introduction

Knife crime has increased dramatically in the past decade. Official figures for 2019 show 45,627 recorded incidents – the highest number since records began in 2011 and a 49% increase since then.

“I applied for my Churchill Fellowship to help make a difference to the UK knife crime situation." - Leisa Nichols-Drew, Fellow

Forensic scientist Leisa Nichols-Drew (CF 2018) has led pioneering research which shows that knives with rounded ends could dramatically reduce violent crime and domestic homicides, as well as accidental injuries in the home. She was inspired to carry out this study following findings gathered during her Fellowship. Working with three universities (De Montfort, Leicester and Northumbria), Leisa’s research revealed that round-tip knives are a safer alternative to conventional blade designs. The research has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Science & Justice, and Leisa has disseminated the results via a TEDx talk, a live television appearance on BBC Crimewatch and numerous conference presentations.

In 2020, Leisa was awarded Chartered Forensic Practitioner (ChFP) status by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSoFS). In December 2020 she collaborated with seven other Churchill Fellows to share international insights on criminal justice at the Conference to Enhance the UK Criminal Justice System. The event brought together innovations and international best practices to improve efficiency and effectiveness in criminal investigations. Leisa is now engaging with police forces, judiciary, charities and retailers to share her findings further and influence legislative changes around the use of knives to make them safer for their intended use as food preparation kitchen tools.

As a forensic scientist, Leisa has seen first-hand the increased use of bladed weapons in crimes – the majority of which involve kitchen knives with pointed tips. Her Fellowship explored best practice in forensic science approaches to knife crime in Australia and Canada.

Leisa says, “I applied for my Churchill Fellowship to help make a difference to the UK knife crime situation. I wanted to use the knowledge I obtained from my travels to provide reactive and proactive recommendations, in how we can detect knife crime and how we can prevent it from occurring in the first place.”

“I applied for my Churchill Fellowship to help make a difference to the UK knife crime situation." - Leisa Nichols-Drew, Fellow

Forensic scientist Leisa Nichols-Drew (CF 2018) has led pioneering research which shows that knives with rounded ends could dramatically reduce violent crime and domestic homicides, as well as accidental injuries in the home. She was inspired to carry out this study following findings gathered during her Fellowship. Working with three universities (De Montfort, Leicester and Northumbria), Leisa’s research revealed that round-tip knives are a safer alternative to conventional blade designs. The research has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Science & Justice, and Leisa has disseminated the results via a TEDx talk, a live television appearance on BBC Crimewatch and numerous conference presentations.

In 2020, Leisa was awarded Chartered Forensic Practitioner (ChFP) status by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSoFS). In December 2020 she collaborated with seven other Churchill Fellows to share international insights on criminal justice at the Conference to Enhance the UK Criminal Justice System. The event brought together innovations and international best practices to improve efficiency and effectiveness in criminal investigations. Leisa is now engaging with police forces, judiciary, charities and retailers to share her findings further and influence legislative changes around the use of knives to make them safer for their intended use as food preparation kitchen tools.

As a forensic scientist, Leisa has seen first-hand the increased use of bladed weapons in crimes – the majority of which involve kitchen knives with pointed tips. Her Fellowship explored best practice in forensic science approaches to knife crime in Australia and Canada.

Leisa says, “I applied for my Churchill Fellowship to help make a difference to the UK knife crime situation. I wanted to use the knowledge I obtained from my travels to provide reactive and proactive recommendations, in how we can detect knife crime and how we can prevent it from occurring in the first place.”