The Met is investing £11 million in digital forensics

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The Met is investing £11 million in digital forensics to help front line officers tackle and investigate serious crime, more effectively and efficiently for victims.

An extra 100 specially trained digital forensic examiners will increase the Met’s capacity to access all digital devices on every Basic Command Unit (BCU) across London, speeding up the process for examination and analysis of the device.

Over the next three years, the investment will provide an enhanced operational service to officers on three levels.

– The first is an increase in the number of ‘self-serve’ kiosks where officers trained in basic skills can download and secure vital evidence. There are currently 93 kiosks across 39 police buildings already in place; the extra money will see this uplift to 125. As the technology is easily accessible to officers, it means the turnaround time for capturing the material is much quicker, and so we can return it to the victim sooner. Digital forensic examiners provide technical support to officers, and will train and offer refresher training to 240 officers a year on how to use the kiosk. 3,000 officers have already been trained since 2016.

– Level two are the locally placed digital hubs where the forensic examiners work from, to provide enhanced support to officers in extracting evidence from a range of digital devices from different vendors including laptops, gaming devices, vehicle systems, even pacemakers and fitness trackers. There are currently eight hubs across the Met, this will be enhanced to 12 which means this ‘one stop’ shop of highly technical and experienced examiners are accessible on the front line right across London, to assist in supporting investigators and allowing them to focus on other aspects of their inquiry.

– The last is the continual development of skills, and investment in equipment in our centre of excellenceLaboratory Services’, where technically challenging audio and video cases, device repairs and extractions are required using expert and bespoke methods to tackle the most complex investigation of the devices. With digital forensics constantly changing, it is vital that we are up to date and even ahead of the criminals, in terms of advancements in technology.

Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “Extra staff and investment in the most modern and advanced technology and techniques will greatly enable front line officers to deal with violent crime. We are bringing the technology out to staff across London, which will mean a more efficient service for victims, and faster results.

“Most crimes, including rape and child abuse and exploitation investigations, rely upon our expertise in handling, and interrogating the data from the devices.

“It is vital that we maximise the use of, and develop our technology, so that we are the best we can be in this fast moving environment.

“This investment will allow us to maximise the potential of digital forensics, helping us to catch more criminals, speed up investigations, build more successful criminal investigations, reassure victims and increase confidence in the justice process.”

+ In 2020/21, 32,000 mobile devices were processed by officers via the kiosks, with over 6,500 complex case submissions made to the MPS labs consisting of 11,600 mobile phones and other devices, each holding a huge amount of data and requiring a range of examination and extraction techniques which now take longer to deal with; 53 per cent of cases were sexual and violence offences which are often very complex, with many requiring more advanced detailed work and analysis completed by digital specialist technicians.

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