Juries up close with crime scenes in 3D

Linking Up: Ben Hawksworth of Hawk 3D Proto
Linking Up: Ben Hawksworth of Hawk 3D Proto

A 3D printing company is helping West Yorkshire Police piece together crime scenes after securing a deal to supply a printer to the force.

Cleckheaton-based Hawk 3D Proto delivered a Delta WASP 4070 industrial 3D Printer to West Yorkshire Police at its Regional Scientific Support Unit (SSU).

Up close: the company can produce crime scene 3D models

Up close: the company can produce crime scene 3D models

The police force will use the printer to recreate accurate physical models of crime scenes, enabling the jury to examine the crime scene up close.

Daniel Sharp, crime scene surveying supervisor at West Yorkshire Police, said: “3D laser scan technology has been used by the Yorkshire and Humber Imaging Unit since 2008, producing 3D animations and plans for court use.

“It was a natural progression therefore to be able to recreate the crime scenes in solid 3D. This would enable judge and jury to hold the crime scene in their hands.

“A large scale 3D printer was required to meet these needs, and also to produce an innovative prototype and subsequent product for one of our close government partners. We are already using the 3D printer for the project and looking forward to using it to support investigations and court use.”

Ben Hawksworth, founder of Hawk 3D Proto, is hoping that this deal will see more work from police forces across the country follow. “Hopefully, other law enforcement agencies will see this and realise that this is innovative technology that they can use going forward.”

Hawk 3D Proto not only delivered the 3D printing machine to the Scientific Support Unit, the Cleckheaton-based firm also helped train staff on how to use it.

Hawk 3D Proto was established in 2013. It is part of Cutwel, an engineering cutting tools supplier established in 1996 but which has roots dating back to 1986. Cutwel is Mr Hawksworth’s parent’s business, and Mr Hawksworth decided that having a 3D printing arm would complement the cutting tools business.