National Cold Case Analysis Project (NCCAP)
The National Cold Case Analysis Project combines people and resources from universities and communities across the UK. Teams help ensure every missing or unidentified person’s cold case receives the highest quality investigation at no cost.
The National Cold Case Analysis Project (NCCAP) has three strands:
Community Investigation Teams
A COMMIT Team consists of 6 – 10 volunteers who carry a case load, led by a Team Leader and Investigation Manager. Our COMMIT Team volunteers come from all walks of life, with each volunteer bringing with their relevant skills and own unique work and personal experiences from which we draw.
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University Investigation Teams
Also known as Cold Case Units, these University teams are groups of students & staff from UK universities who come together as part of talent development programme. The ethos is to help the families of the missing & unidentified where they otherwise may not get the focused investigative help they need.
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Graduate Development Programme
Locate international also provide a Graduate Development Programme. Graduate Investigation Teams consist of two types of graduates; graduates who have been part of a University Investigation Team but have now graduated, and graduates who apply to us to join the programme as a direct entrant.
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About COMMIT Teams
A COMMIT Team consists of 6 – 10 volunteers who carry a case load, led by a Team Leader and Investigation Manager. Our COMMIT Team volunteers come from all walks of life, with each volunteer bringing with their relevant skills and own unique work and personal experiences from which we draw. They take part in a comprehensive, modular training programme to equip them with the skills and knowledge to undertake case work.
Our case management system and processes enable us to undertake a rigorous review and investigation of cases and provide us with consistency and accountability, drawing on the skills of a broad range of expert and non-expert volunteers. This provides a unique opportunity to review cases through a different lens and to foster new ideas and creativity.
What Our Volunteers Say
“As a volunteer at Locate, I have had the opportunity to learn new skills and work with a friendly group of people doing something I previously knew little about. We are currently reviewing a small number of unsolved unidentified cases using a variety of techniques. Using genealogy, open source investigation and technology that perhaps wasn’t available at the time, we work to try and identify or locate these people. These new skills and our success enable Locate to inform a family what happened to a loved one who has been missing for years.”
Lisa Mitchell, Volunteer
University Investigation Teams
University Investigation Teams consist of groups of students and staff from UK universities who come together as part of talent development programme. The ethos of this collaboration is to help the families of the missing and unidentified where they otherwise may not get the focused investigative help they need. In so doing, students gain real world transferable skills both on how to conduct investigations, and in problem solving more broadly, thereby nurturing and developing student talent as future investigators.
Students have particular allied specialisms from criminology, policing and forensic psychology to forensic science, computer science and forensic anthropology. Students are identified by their university as those who excel in their studies and show aptitude and potential as investigators of the future. Students are provided with a comprehensive programme of training to equip them with the skills and knowledge to undertake case work.
Following training, each student takes part in the International Cold Case Analysis Project before taking on cases as part of the NCCAP. Students may also take They are supported and mentored throughout the programme by staff from Locate International and by a member(s) of staff at their university.
“This is an excellent initiative that is making a real difference to people’s lives. We are really proud of what our students are achieving. This work shows how important it is that students develop their interdisciplinary and leadership skills in this programme.”
Ian Allison, UCLAN Executive Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology
University teams are also engaged in academic research, providing an evidence base for this work and driving the development of more effective responses to missing people and unidentified remains investigation and cold case review. Examples of this are:
- A research project on missing Vietnamese adults in the UK, developing a way to support those who have lost contact with relatives in the UK and to improve responses to those who go missing. This is being led by the Scottish Cold Case Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University and experts at Locate International
- A project on missing and murdered sex workers in the UK, exploring geographical, temporal and behavioural patterns of risk and harm. This is being led by academics at the University of Wales Cold Case Unit, the Scottish Cold Case Unit and the University of Central Lancashire
- A project to develop an online self-administered interview to enable families to report information about a missing relative. This is being led by Goldsmith’s University who are also researching the effectiveness of missing and unidentified persons appeals.
- A series of systematic reviews of literature pertaining to missing people and investigation led by Goldsmith’s University.
- Doctoral research on ‘Buried justice – a critical review into the cross-matching of unidentified bodies and missing persons reports in England and Wales’. This is being led by Emma Tilley at the University of Staffordshire.
- Dundee University are working with Locate to improve the use of images in unidentified persons cases.
- University of Winchester are working with Locate to research geo-forensic search for clandestine graves, simple and secure way for families to share information in long term cases, burials at sea and aiding identification when bodies are shifted from their resting place.
- University of South Wales cold case unit are seeking to understand commonalities and characteristics to assist front line police officers to mitigate against the challenges and risks associated with recognising and responding to homicide in missing persons’ investigations. This will enable police to spot the triggers which might indicate homicide when dealing with missing person reports.
In addition to university teams, Locate International have drawn on the administrative and operational support of interns from the University of Bath. Four interns worked with Locate between June 2021 – June 2022 and 6 more interns from the university have started with us in June 2022. We also have an intern from the University of Maastricht for four months.
“This past year has been one of the best years of my life and working with Locate made it so. The work was so interesting and the countless opportunities you gave us have been incredible. I have had the most amazing experience and learnt so much this year and it has really helped me grow as a person. It has given me more confidence and skills than I ever thought was possible and I cannot thank you enough. The international collaborations and projects felt monumental to be a part of and I am so thankful I got to participate. The work that Locate does is so important and I feel honoured to have been one of the first placement students with this phenomenal organisation. I really cannot put into words how grateful I am to you for the incredible year I have had and the work I got to be a part of.”
Locate International Intern
Graduate Development Programme
Locate international also provide a Graduate Development Programme. Graduate Investigation Teams consist of two types of graduates:
- Graduates who have been part of a University Investigation Team but have now graduated from their university course
- Other graduates who apply to Locate International to join the programme as a direct entrant
About Our Programme
Graduates follow an extended version of the university investigation team talent development programme. The aim for this programme is to provide work based learning, leadership and employability skills development opportunities and mentoring to meet the needs of the graduate employment market. The programme lasts 12 months and graduates can join during the summer following graduation.
Direct entrants undertake a basic training programme and then all graduates undertake placements in a variety of roles at Locate International, receiving more advanced training where appropriate. This includes placements in the media team, the advanced OSINT Team, the information development team, the operational support team and COMMIT teams, and one short ‘Challenge Lab’. This culminates in a presentation of their work to the Executive Team, Trustees and invited guests. Throughout the year, graduates receive coaching and mentoring from Locate staff and industry experts.