Operation Faculty

Operation Faculty was an investigation by Thames Valley Police into an attempted murder in Reading, Berkshire. Gunshots were fired into a vehicle over a suspected drugs dispute.

Operation Faculty


Operation Faculty was an investigation by Thames Valley Police into an attempted murder in Reading, Berkshire. 7 gunshots fired into a vehicle in a suspected disagreement over drugs debt. Chorus Analyse was used to overlay call data and vehicle telematics to secure convictions of attempted murder and firearm offences against four individuals for a total of 57 years.


Thames Valley Police


Law Enforcement

Products Utilised

The telematics data was crucial in placing offenders at the scene of the shooting and securing convictions. With the case relying so heavily on data, being able to combine the vehicles’ precise GPS location with the communications data of the defendants’ phones removed the element of doubt that persists with locating an individual through cell site analysis alone.

Intelligence Analyst - Thames Valley Police

The Investigation

The shooting

In October 2019, police received reports of gunshots in a quiet cul-de-sac in Reading. The victim presented at Hospital having driven himself with a gunshot wound in his shoulder. The victim did not want to support proceedings due to the circumstances that would later come to light.

A witness had heard the voice of a resident, ‘J’, shouting soon after the incident and saw a male running from the scene before leaving the road at high speed in a vehicle.

Intelligence linked J to organised criminals involved in the supply of drugs with access to firearms.

Analysing communications data

Phone data was obtained for J and imported into Chorus Analyse. Cell site analysis supported J being in the vicinity of the offence. Data was then obtained for numbers in contact with J and the victim in the hours prior to the shooting to identify any further involved parties.

It became apparent that in the lead up to the shooting, J and the victim were in contact with phones that were cell siting in London. It was revealed in court that the phones belonged to two members of a London gang, who along with the victim had supplied J with drugs. They had arranged for J and the victim to meet where J was to hand over money owed to settle a debt.

J’s communication showed significant contact with a known OCG member, ‘L’.

Overlaying data with ANPR

Cell site data was used with ANPR systems to identify two vehicles. A BMW X5 and a Ford Fiesta, used by the J and L throughout the date of the offence. The X5 was driven by L and the Fiesta was driven by J but it was hired by another OCG member, ‘C’.

The two vehicles were located and seized and data extracted from the vehicles’ computers including GPS activity, vehicle events, and connected device history.

Vehicle telematics data

The GPS data from the vehicles was standardised and imported into Chorus Analyse using a custom template to overlay with the existing cell site data. This showed both vehicles being parked metres away from the shooting and leaving within minutes of the shots being fired.

It also showed the Ford Fiesta travelling from the shooting scene to the address of C, before returning and parking two hours prior to the shooting.

A connected device holds the key

This made C a suspect, but requests for data of his known phone numbers for him returned no data. The download of the Ford Fiesta gave the contacts list of a recently connected device which was imported into Chorus and identified a previously unknown number for C.

Data obtained for this number when mapped showed co-location with J and L’s phones throughout the night until the travel from the scene to his home address where C’s phone was left with no outgoing activity observed until the following morning.

Data and a sighting reveals the truth

Considering the events that would follow, no suspects tried to contact C after the shooting which supported the prosecution’s case that he was present at the shooting and had deposited his phone at his home address before returning in a deliberate attempt to frustrate law enforcement.

GPS data from the BMW linked it to a previously unrelated report of a firearm sighting in Reading earlier that evening. ‘S’, a male with firearm links and an associate of L and C, was involved in a road traffic collision that left his vehicle immobile.

GPS and cell site data showed that the BMW collected him with L as the driver and S was seen to move his possessions and a firearm from the immobile vehicle into the BMW. This was how L came to be in possession of the firearm. S was driven by L to his home address and L continued in the BMW back to the scene along with the firearm.

Tied to the crime scene

J’s phone was in the vicinity of the crime scene at the time of the offence but it was switched off immediately after.

He was shown to be the driver of the Fiesta that left the scene at speed based on the addresses it visited immediately after; his grandmother’s and his girlfriend’s.

Maintaining J’s association with the Fiesta was crucial to tie him back to the exact location at the scene.

Tracked to a meeting place

There was no visible activity by L’s phone in the hour before or after the shooting, but Data Details Records (DDR) data showed his phone was present and left the area soon after the shooting.

The cell site locations tracked the route taken by the BMW to a hotel were S worked and was known to allow criminals to stay. J later joined L at the hotel.

The results

Despite being a ‘victimless prosecution’, the following convictions were given at the Crown Court:

  • J – 24 years – attempted murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
  • L – 14 years – possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
  • C – 14 years – possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
  • S – 5 years – possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.