Clearly police have been affected by the rise of digital technologies; mobile phones, dash cams, chat rooms, online gaming and social media just like the rest of us. Digital technology has cut across every aspect of our personal and business lives. In just a few years digital evidence went from being only a small portion of a case evidence to most of the evidence used for prosecution of a crime. This dramatic digital shift along with the continued rise in cybercrime, has happened in a single generation of police officers causing great challenges for police and investigators around the globe.
There is a tidal wave of digital evidence being created every single day as more and more case evidence is coming from 100’s of different sources on various file formats requiring high degrees of technical competence to manage and analyse it. Not only is the analysis of digital evidence very technical the sheer magnitude of digital evidence for a single major case creates a management nightmare on its own.
Investigators and police face a tidal wave of digital evidence every day.
Dashcams have been widely instituted in many police forces. These devices create hours and hours of video footage, with only a small fraction of it useful - if at all. But the entire recording needs to remain intact in case the Defense wishes to see the evidence in “full context and untouched”. Next body cams were instituted creating another source of hours of footage with a very small fraction of it being of value. Then there are the CCTV or circuitry cameras deployed everywhere which can be critical to breaking a case wide open. Depending on the actual event itself, just the video files are enough digital evidence to paralyze an entire police force. Sounds extreme? It’s not. A shoplifting case may only take an hour of video evidence, seems quite simple to acquire, manage and share. Compare that with a major terrorist attack on the public in Boston Massachusetts in 2013. That case had over 5,000 hours of video footage for investigators to collect, manage, sift through and analyze*.
The challenges start right at the beginning of a case with the collection of evidence and the challenges continue to mount as the evidence is managed and then shared with the Crown Prosecution Services or other judicial systems. Evidence is often copied to DVDs so it can be transported and brought to court. It is common for an officer to create about 2 DVDs per week. With the average size of a large city police force being about 3000-4000 officers, it is common for one organization to create about 100,000 DVD’s a year. This creates a digital evidence management and privacy nightmare for our civil servants, our police, investigators and our communities.
It’s been 2 years since Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) produced a troubling report* that confirmed the dramatic shift to digital evidence and the challenges it creates. Zoe Billingham, from the HMIC, said: “It is taking quite literally months on occasions to get a digital download off a mobile phone of an alleged offender”. She said she knew of cases where it had taken eight months, including in an allegation of domestic abuse. This clearly is not acceptable to all involved but is also understandable. Within a generation of police officers, their roles have changed from collecting physical evidence like fingerprints to needing much different skills to collect and analyze a new tidal wave of digital evidence. That’s when Hitachi Vantara started to work with UK’s police constabularies to create a digital transformation for investigators to meet the demands of the digital age and to make it easier for today’s police and investigators to do their job no matter their technical abilities.
We are collecting more and more information from digital sources every day in separate silos and are faced with the challenges of scale, privacy and security," says Mike Barton, chief constable, Durham Constabulary. "Hitachi Digital Evidence Management delivers a scalable evidence platform that will help us protect our citizens' privacy while allowing us to prevent crime and apprehend and prosecute criminals more effectively. The people of County Durham and Darlington can be confident that we will deploy innovation in policing that makes our communities safer by using Hitachi Digital Evidence Management."
Hitachi Digital Evidence Management (HDEM) is a digital evidence management platform co-created with UK police to meet today’s demanding digital investigations and policing requirements. HDEM provides a single scalable platform to easily manage, analyse and share all types of digital evidence. HDEM is data and device type agnostic, it can handle evidence from mobile phones, tasers, dash and body cams, the source doesn’t matter. From evidence ingestion via public portals, to evidence management – video redaction of innocent faces, license plates and street signs, to sharing the evidence with trusted partners via partner portals. Even advanced analytics to help predict crime before it happens. HDEM has it covered. These capabilities allow investigators to paint a comprehensive and integrated evidential picture and supports prosecution efforts, helping law enforcement lead criminal cases to more efficient and effective closure. If you are part of a large police, criminal or fraud investigation team of any kind, you should email email@example.com and ask for a demo. Then you can see for yourself that HDEM is the digital transformation designed just for you.
Please note, Hitachi Digital Evidence Management is available initially for police and law enforcement agencies within Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Dubai, India, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom. HDEM will be expanded into other countries and localized for additional use cases in the future.
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