High speed pursuits and pineapples

Concept Testing the use of a Pineapple Device in a Police Vehicle During a High Speed Pursuit.

TU Forensics’ has been out and about again, this time working in collaboration with Durham Constabulary, Centre of Excellence at Meadowfield and their Driving Instructors.  A big thank you goes to the instructors for allowing us to join one of their training days on their high speed pursuit training and to the students who let us sit in on their instruction and assessment. This support and collaboration is greatly appreciated.

What we were looking at was, if it was possible during a high speed pursuit through towns, country roads and on the motorway to detect the ‘Wi-Fi handshake’ of a number of mobile devices in the pursued vehicle. The pineapple device was set up in the marked police pursuit vehicle and within the subject vehicle were 4 devices, two Wi-Fi enabled phones and iPads one of each which was placed in Airplane Mode as a control. Along with our devices there were general background devices from the instructors and students personal devices.

It was a very thrilling days ‘work’ getting driven at speed through the various roads and conditions and listening to the instruction and the commentary of the students during the training, giving a commentary of the pursuit. Seeing how the pursuit started and progressed and the consideration of safety and risk. What was of interest to us was the environment the pursuit was in, town, country or motorway, what the average sort of distance was between pursuit and subject vehicle in those conditions, the speeds and would we pick up the handshake.

We got to speeds we would never consider appropriate for driving ourselves in such conditions, very exciting and a little scary at the same time!! Had to admire the skills and professionalism of both the instructors and students, not sure if I would have the confidence to go at such speeds in those conditions. But like with most things it comes with time, practice, and good teaching/training.

We got a wonderful set of ‘negative’ results which we will expand upon in a more formal format sometime soon. However the data set we recovered got us talking and developing ideas for another concept test we would hope to undertake with Durham Constabulary in the near future.

So over all a nice piece of collaboration between Academia and Law Enforcement, that there is no such thing as a purely negative result and looking forward to doing similar collaborative work in the future. It was a most amazing and thrilling fun day as well 🙂


Post written by: Tim James