Well what an experience! This is definitely a conference I will never forget. Firstly the hotel was lovely and as usual the best bit of any hotel was the hot cooked breakfast that set me up for the day. I arrived at Manchester Central quite early in order to have a look around and see where I would be presenting the next day. The first person I bumped into reminded me that the conference really was international as he was from Calgary! I went to Calgary on my honeymoon and he was speaking at the conference about Human Trafficking so I found him really interesting to talk to.
The first plenary session was on what works in policing and the research done by the Jill Dando Institute to collate well evaluated studies into policing tactics that really work and the situations that they work in. This is an area I am very interested in because we don’t do enough results analysis and we rarely plan operations in a way that allows for meaningful analysis of whether the tactic really works.
The seminars I attended were really interesting especially one from a cybercrime analyst from a private company in Europe who clearly had the ability to work outside some of the legal constraints we are under in the UK. The human trafficking seminar showed how the analyst from Calgary had used google trends to attempt to quantify the prevalence of human trafficking in his city. It was a new problem for Calgary Police and they had little of their own data to estimate the scale of the problem so using google trends he was able to estimate what levels of crime should be in the area. Shaun Sawyer’s team gave an overview of what was happening nationally in the area of human trafficking and modern slavery including an overview of the proposed Modern Slavery Bill.
The exhibition was very good with many interesting stands and the obligatory conference freebies. I got chance to catch up with my co-presenter, Claire Hall the Senior Analyst from North Yorkshire Police who was presenting about the tactical response to CSE in North Yorkshire. It was a surprising twist of fate that we had been selected to present together because Claire had interviewed me for my first analyst job ten years earlier
To round off the first day there was the ACIA drinks reception where they were presenting the awards. I was a bit nervous about this but thought of it as a small preparation for the next morning and my presentation. Karyn McCluskey from the Scottish Violence Reduction Team presented the awards. She said that my analysis was one of the longest she had ever read but that it wouldn’t be difficult to turn it into a PhD! That was something I had not considered before but if I will have a serious think about it in the future. After the awards were presented I was looking forward to enjoying my glass of wine with my colleagues but the announcements were not over. As winners of the ACIA awards we were both entered into the Professional Service Awards presented by the Interntional Association of Law Enforcement Inelligence Analysts. In a most astonishing turn of events both the other winner and I had WON!!!!! The awards would be presented in Phoenix, Arizona in May!!! I was completely overwhelmed to hear this and burst into tears! My two colleagues were hugging me and strangers were coming up to me so I don’t think I even managed to finish my glass of wine.
My colleague gave me a lift to the hotel and I had about fifteen minutes to get ready for the evening meal. In that time I managed to quickly call my husband and my mum to give them the good news. The meal at Jamie’s Italian was amazing and I spent most of the evening talking to the delegation from New Zealand. After the meal I decided to be sensible and head back to the hotel for a cup of tea and a last run through my presentation.
Well here goes! First presentation of the day in the main conference hall and it was packed! My first ever public speaking engagement and it’s in front of 300 people on a huge stage! Nervous is not the word. I strategically placed my two colleagues in the front row so I had a couple of friendly faces to focus on. I had spent weeks on the presentation and almost everyone who works in my building had been Guinea pig audiences. There were some key points I wanted to get across: how important it is to have sufficient time to do the analysis properly, the importance of partnership date in enhancing understanding of a problem and why this area is so important.
Despite my nervousness, I settled into my stride quickly and the presentation went really well. Yesterday I won two awards and today was no different! Amazingly, I won the runner up prize for best presentation! I won a signed copy of Nick Ross’ book Crime – How to solve it and why some much of what we’re told is wrong and a copy of Situational Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.
Wow what a mind blowing couple of days. Excluding the awards and the perks that are with it the whole conference was fantastic. The venue was brilliant and the steering committed put on a well run, interesting and informative conference. I really hope I get to go again next year.