Forensic Science Research Center

The main goal of the Scientific and Research Center for the Support of Judicial Proceedings is to organize the scientific basis of the disciplines used in the evidentiary process.

The means to achieve this goal is to undertake projects that fall within the broad spectrum of forensic sciences, the primary and practical purpose of which is to support evidentiary activities in various types of court proceedings.

The intensive scientific and technological progress that is taking place in the applied sciences also applies to forensic science. Vendors of new technologies are providing increasingly sophisticated solutions, but the mere development of a new technology or research technique does not guarantee that it will be successfully adopted by judicial practitioners. Additionally, in many traditionally used research methods, developing a theoretical model and scientific basis still remains a challenge. The role of the Scientific and Research Center for Litigation Support is to fill these gaps by conducting studies on the effectiveness of expert witness methods while taking into account the local administrative and legal context and understanding the diverse needs and capabilities of end users.

We use expertise to develop development policies, training, and popularize new technologies and research methods.

 The second area assigned to the objective of the Scientific and Research Center for Judicial Procedure Support is to conduct research projects in the field of organization and management directed at improving the efficiency of the judicial opinion system, particularly through the development and implementation of modern solutions dedicated to managing the competence of judicial experts or aimed at improving the quality of their opinions.

The third area of activity is service activities for trial authorities and anyone facing the selection of a court expert. The staff of the Scientific and Research Center for the Support of Judicial Proceedings provides assistance in finding experts, at home and abroad, ready to provide scientific support in ongoing proceedings.

Paweł Rybicki

Paweł Rybicki

Director of the Scientific and Research Center for Judicial Support

Pawel Rybicki is a practitioner in the field of management in forensic science, initiating in this field many recognized projects in the scope of work organization, standardization, improvement of quality  and competence. Since 2013, he is the chairman of the board of directors of the European Center for Initiatives in Forensic Sciences Foundation, EFIC. From 2017 to 2021 he was a forensic science expert at the National Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw. From 2003 to 2013 he managed the Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police, first as deputy director, then as director of the laboratory. He authored the concept and initiated the establishment of the Research Institute – Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police, which he then headed. From 1997 to 2003 he worked at the Police Academy in Szczytno, and from 1996 to 1997 he worked at the Forensic Laboratory of the Regional Police Headquarters in Szczecin. 

Paweł Rybicki is also active in the international arena: he is a member of the Steering Committee of the pan-European FINDEX-II project on competence management of forensic experts (since 2022); he represents Poland in the EuroExpert organization – a federation of European associations of forensic experts (since 2018); member of the Steering Committee of the ILEAnet Network – Innovation in Law Enforcement (2017-2022); Initiator of the establishment of Technical Committee CEN 419 – Processes in Forensic Sciences within the European Committee for Standardization and its first chairman (2012-2014), Board member and chairman of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes ENFSI (2009-2012); chairman of the International Strategic Alliance in Forensic Sciences IFSA (2011); member of the Program Council of the European Academy of Forensic Sciences (2009-2011). During the Polish Presidency of the European Council (2011), he served as a leading expert on forensic sciences and spokesperson for the so-called Polish Initiative in Forensic Sciences introducing the concept of the European Forensic Sciences Area into European legislation. 

Pawel Rybicki is also an academic lecturer and author of dozens of publications in the field of forensic and related sciences.

Marek Pękała

Marek Pękała

deputy director of the Scientific and Research Center for Support of Judicial Proceedings

Marek Pękała has tremendous practical experience in forensic science, from conducting visual inspections of crime scenes, to serving as an expert witness in criminal proceedings, to managing a forensic laboratory.

Currently, Marek Pękała serves as Vice President of the European Center for Initiatives in Forensic Sciences Foundation, EFIC – he is responsible for coordinating the implementation of scientific research projects. Since 2014, on behalf of EFIC, he is also a member of the task committee KZ505 Processes in Forensic Science operating within the framework of the Polish Committee for Standardization. Between 2011-2013, he was deputy director of the Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police responsible for, among other things, organizing scientific and research work and coordinating development and investment projects, including those financed from EU sources. From 2005 to 2010, he served as Quality Management Officer – he organized and supervised the implementation of the first inter-laboratory comparison program in Poland in the field of dactyloscopic and traseological testing. Other managerial positions at the Central Forensic Laboratory: head of the Dactyloscopy Department (2003-2005) –supervised the modernization of the AFIS automatic fingerprint identification system, prepared the Department for accreditation for compliance with the requirements of ISO 17025, managed the KAMERA research program (result: a world-unique test stand for visualization of dactyloscopic traces using the phenomenon of delayed luminescence); head of the Weapons and Ballistics Research Department (1996-2003) – implemented into operation the automatic firearms identification support system, introduced into use the methodology of research of weapons and traces of their use, directed the LINIA research program (result: a tool for determining the line of fire at long distances and a set for visual inspection of sites of incidents with firearms implemented for use in all police laboratories of weapons and ballistics research).

Marek Pękała is also an academic lecturer and author of a number of scientific and professional publications.

Paul Cybulski

Paul Cybulski

Administration

Graduated from the bilingual math and physics class at 158 Princess Izabela Czartoryska High School in Warsaw (matriculation 2022). Recipient of the school’s Izabelian award for his activity in spreading economic knowledge among young people. Councilor of the Ursynów District Youth Council for the 2020-2022 term and Chairman of the Promotion and Cooperation Committee. Currently studying, he is also active in the foundation of the European Center for Initiatives in Forensic Sciences (EFIC), where, as National Project Coordinator, he acquires the necessary knowledge and skills from the best experts.

The main goal of the Scientific and Research Center for the Support of Judicial Proceedings is to organize the scientific basis of the disciplines used in the evidentiary process.

The means to achieve this goal is to undertake projects that fall within the broad spectrum of forensic sciences, the primary and practical purpose of which is to support evidentiary activities in various types of court proceedings.

The intensive scientific and technological progress that is taking place in the applied sciences also concerns the forensic science. Vendors of new technologies are providing increasingly sophisticated solutions, but the mere development of a new technology or research technique does not guarantee that it will be successfully adopted by judicial practitioners. Additionally, in many traditionally used research methods, developing a theoretical model and scientific basis still remains a challenge. The role of the Scientific and Research Center for Litigation Support is to fill these gaps by conducting studies on the effectiveness of expert witness methods while taking into account the local administrative and legal context and understanding the diverse needs and capabilities of end users.

We use expert knowledge to elaborate development policies, training, and popularize new technologies and research methods. 

The second area assigned to the objective of the Scientific and Research Center for Judicial Procedure Support is to conduct research projects in the field of organization and management directed at improving the efficiency of the judicial opinion system, particularly through the development and implementation of modern solutions dedicated to managing the competence of judicial experts or aimed at improving the quality of their opinions. 

The third area of activity is service activities for trial authorities and anyone facing the selection of a court expert. The staff of the Scientific and Research Center for the Support of Judicial Proceedings provides assistance in finding experts, at home and abroad, ready to provide scientific support in ongoing proceedings.

SCIENCE RESEARCH

September 1st, 2016. The U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), composed of leading U.S. scientists and engineers appointed by the President of the United States to advise him on science and technology issues, approved a report entitled Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods. The 174-page report was compiled by recognized representatives of the science and judiciary of the United States with the cooperation of forensic science experts from other continents as well. In it, the Council on Science and Technology states that a number of methods currently used in research performed for law enforcement and judicial purposes do not have a sufficient basis in accordance with the indications of modern science, or the methods used are not adequately validated for judicial applications. It also contains recommendations of a strategic nature, as well as practical guidance for justice practitioners. The report in its full version was published on the White House website on September 20th, 2016 and is the most extensive analysis to date of the scientific basis for contemporary research methods used for judicial purposes. Shortly after the Report was published, the US Department of Justice took concrete action on the recommendations and issued its first recommendations.

Leaving aside the U.S. context of this Report, it should be noted that its authors relied on extensive analysis of publicly available literature sources describing the universal – rather than limited to the U.S. area only – state of forensic science in the context of the standards of modern science, and the list of works analyzed included more than two thousand scientific articles. It should also be noted that the research methods questioned in the Report are commonly performed on behalf of law enforcement and judicial agencies in Poland as well.

Six years have passed since the Report was issued, during which time many new solutions of institutional and organizational nature dedicated to the systemic regulation of the described problem have been implemented in the United States. In addition, many interesting solutions aimed at standardizing the basis of scientific research methods are being implemented in Australia.

The aim of the project is to verify the potential for implementing similar organizational solutions in the Polish system and legal practice. As part of the project, the following will be implemented:

  • Desk-research to systematize information on the solutions used in Poland, the United States and Australia for the study and development of the theoretical foundations of research methods used in forensic sciences and ways to validate them for justice purposes.
  • Study visit to selected institutions of the US judiciary and forensic sciences:
    • S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice – Forensic Science Research and Development Technology Working Group, Office of the Attorney General.
    • S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology – National Commission on Forensic Science, Organization of Scientific Area Committees.
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Forensic Laboratory, Quantico, Virginia.
    • selected scientific and academic centers conducting Forensic Science majors.

Study visit to selected institutions of the Australian forensic science system:

  • National Institute of Forensic Science.
  • Victoria Police Forensic Services Department I Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.
  • Selected scientific and academic centers conducting Forensic Science faculty.
  • Comparative analysis of the observations made with the solutions characteristic of the Polish system of scientific support of evidence proceedings.
  • A research report with a list of recommendations for implementation into Polish public policy in the area of criminal prosecution and justice.
  • visual inspection simulator

The advantages of using virtual reality in teaching crime scene investigation are well known and well documented (see, for example, R. Mayne, H. Green, Virtual Reality for Teaching and Learning in Crime Scene Investigation, University of the West of England, Bristol, April 2020). It is also predicted that this is how visual inspection teams will be trained in the future (see G. Ostwal, AR/VR – Future of Forensic Science & Crime Scene Investigation, May 25, 2020). An example of a crime scene examination simulator that is officially recommended by the NSA for use by investigators is After the Fact. It is an online virtual crime scene assessment tool prepared for officers and forensic science representatives of Australia’s law enforcement services. It was developed and is updated annually by the Australian and New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency together with the National Institute of Forensic Science, which, in conjunction with the National Forensic Science Technology Center in the United States, developed the After the Fact simulator as an innovative response to the needs of the police services and forensic science community. According to the developers, thanks to the use of virtual reality technology, the program effectively replaces the costly and time-consuming practice of creating sham crime scenes for the purposes of training, and enables objective evaluation of the results obtained. In Poland, so far, no professional trainer tailored to the needs of state investigative, prosecutorial, or forensic services has been developed. The target market of recipients is at the level of several thousand people. These are investigators of the Police, Military Police, other security and public order services, prosecutors, experts, forensic technicians, etc. This group is supplemented by the number of students in the fields of law, public security, forensic science taught by civilian universities, which is difficult to estimate at this stage.

The project involves the construction of a professional simulator for conducting visual inspections of crime scenes, taking into account the local legal and forensic context and the latest technological developments. The tasks carried out within the simulator include securing the crime scene, collecting forensic traces and their technical and procedural protection. The simulator will enable the cooperation of the participating persons and will be equipped with the most modern and innovative IT technological solutions, which will ensure a high didactic and substantive level of the training conducted on it. Its most important distinguishing features are:

  • The use of multiplayer functions, which will enable the visual inspection of incident sites to be simulated by the visual inspection group and should eliminate errors in cooperation that occur in the tactical sphere of conducting visual inspections;
  • The use of controllers or haptic gloves, in order to simulate as realistically as possible the technical activities performed at the scene of an incident involving the collection of traces, which should eliminate habits of touching random objects, unintentional obliteration of traces, contamination of the scene by applying one’s own traces, etc.
  • Integration of the simulator with bio-feedback technology enabling the trainer to observe the physiological reactions of individual participants in the site inspection simulation, adjusting the didactic means to individual needs and thus better achieving the didactic goal.

Tasks to be performed in the project:

  • Development of assumptions for conducting visual site inspection in a “virtual environment” taking into account applicable national regulations and international standards (including ISO 21043-2:2018, Forensic sciences – Part 2: Recognition, recording, collecting, transport and storage of items).
  • Development of an algorithm for searching, comparing and linking to police databases for forensic traces secured at crime scenes.
  • Development of an information system for simulating crime scene inspection in a virtual environment.
  • Implementation of the information system into the environment, virtual devices.
  • Integration of the created solutions into a single module (simulator).
  • Conducting tests of the simulator’s operation in operational conditions close to the real one.
  • Development of instructions and technical documentation for the use of the simulator, taking into account all its functionalities.
  • Preparation of training materials for end users of the system.

Needed: 9 000 000 PLN. Collected: 5%

  • COLLECTED 5% 5%
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