CSI Portsmouth where crime fiction meets crime fact - 2013

The sixth CSI Portsmouth where crime fiction meets crime fact will be held on Saturday 5 March 2016 at the Pyramids Centre, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea.  Tickets go on sale on 4 January and before then here's a look back  at CSI Portsmouth 2013. You can also read what happened at CSI Portsmouth 2012, CSI Portsmouth 2011 and view the details of the first CSI Portsmouth in 2010).

CSI Portsmouth was first launched in 2010 and brings together crime fiction and fact.  It is organised by Portsmouth City Council Library Service and the Hayling Island Bookshop and is part of Portsmouth BookFest.

Over 130 people gathered  at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on  a blustery day, punctuated by the occasional shower, on Saturday 2 November 2013 to  listen to two panels of crime authors, crime experts and police debate crime  fiction and crime fact.

CSI Portsmouth 2013

Along with the panel events also present throughout the day were the Hampshire  Police Fingerprint Bureau team. Emma Bright and Heather Foster were on hand to  offer delegates the opportunity to have their fingerprint taken and pressed  into a keepsake key ring to take away.

Pauline Rowson with Emma Bright and Heather Foster, Hants. Fingerprint Bureau

There was also mock up crime scene, complete with a  body ‘Victor’, provided by students from the forensic science course at South Downs College  and a  forensic display provided by the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Portsmouth University on Entomology (maggots, flies)  finger mark development (chemical treatments), trace evidence, and DNA.  The Hayling Island Bookshop were also there with a  selection of the participating crime authors books.

Mock up crime scene at CSI Portsmouth

 I opened the event by welcoming everyone to CSI Portsmouth and introduced the panel. Along with me was crime author Kerry  Wilkinson and crime experts  Dr  Alex Allan a forensic toxicologist from Triple A Forensics and Mick Ellis from Hampshire Police. 

Pauline  Rowson, Kerry  Wilkinson, Dr  Alex Allan a forensic toxicologist Mick Ellis, Hants Police

 There was a discussion about the growth in smart drugs a big concern for police and health experts. Both Mick Ellis, from Hampshire Police  and Dr Alex Allan a forensic toxicologist from Triple A Forensics talked about the dire consequences of using Cocaine and the  personality changes the drug induces and how Heroin addicts will commit any  kinds of crimes to get their next fix.

Dr Allan discussed how he tests  for drug use and he covered the use and analysis of volatile substances such as solvents, aerosol propellants and fuel gases still  abused for their purported euphoric and sometimes hallucinogenic effects and the  use of chloroform as a drug which is not so common now in the UK but is still  used in some other countries. The debate also focused on international crime and  serious organised crime and the role of the expert witness in trials.

Kerry and I talked about how we became crime writers and why we choose the  locations for our crime novels. Kerry's DS Jessica  Daniel novels are set in Manchester, a city of great contrasts with its  mix of rich and poor and therefore provides a good canvas for crime  novels, a sentiment I echoed by choosing to set my DI Andy Horton crime novels in the densely  populated Island city of Portsmouth contrasting it with the rural landscape of the  Isle of Wight beyond the Solent, the  busiest port in Europe and one of the  busiest in the World.

This was then followed by a book signing and the  chance for the audience to chat to the experts and crime authors on an  individual basis.

Joining CSI Portsmouth in the afternoon were crime  authors Natasha Cooper and Sharon Bolton and crime experts Sergeant Tony Birr, from Hampshire Police Marine Unit and Brian Chappell, former DCI New Scotland Yard now  a lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies University of Portsmouth. 

Sergeant Tony Birr, Pauline Rowson, Natasha Cooper, SJ Bolton, Brian Chappell & marine police

I stepped down from the stage to act as a moderator and put questions to the panel.  Natasha Cooper explained how her work in publishing made her appreciative of how tough it is to be a publisher  especially in one of the most fiercely competitive genres, that of crime  fiction. While Sharon  Bolton, like me, spent her early career in marketing and PR before turning to crime writing.

Brian Chappell joined the Institute of Criminal Justice  Studies at the University of Portsmouth as a senior lecturer in April 2011  following completion of a highly successful thirty year career with the  Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard reaching the rank of DCI.

While Sergeant  Tony Birr was the officer in charge of the Hampshire Police Marine Unit whose work includes counter terrorism patrols, the reduction and detection of  marine crime, investigation of marine incidents and policing large events.  

There were again, as with the morning panel, lots of interesting questions from the audience and a book  signing to follow where the audience got to talk to the individual panellists. CSI Portsmouth 2013 was a highly enjoyable, entertaining and informative day with lots of food for thought for individuals  to take away.

You can follow CSI Portsmouth on Twitter and on Facebook.

CSI Portsmouth 2016 is on Saturday 5 March 2016. Tickets go on sale 4 January 2016.

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