Managing multimedia evidence to create a ‘compelling police case’

A new digital evidence system will allow police to easily build a multimedia Crown Prosecution Service case file from photographs, audio, and different kinds of footage, including body-worn video and CCTV.

Jun 29, 2016
By Paul Jacques

A new digital evidence system will allow police to easily build a multimedia Crown Prosecution Service case file from photographs, audio, and different kinds of footage, including body-worn video and CCTV.

Northgate Public Services has teamed up with media specialists FotoWare and Media Logix to create what it calls “the market’s first truly end-to-end digital evidence solution”, covering the entire period from initial investigation through to sentencing.

CONNECT Digital Assets is geared to support the emerging ‘digital case file’ and other national Home Office and Ministry of Justice initiatives, as well as working across different operational policing systems.

The index and search function enables it to simultaneously access evidence based in digital systems. Northgate says this improves police productivity and reduces wasted time as police only have to search once for relevant evidence, rather than the prevalent practice of performing individual searches for each type of media in different digital ‘silos’.

It is also specifically designed to incorporate evidence from the growing field of cybercrime, as well as that captured by the public on smartphones and shared online via social media or directly with police.

Ian Blackhurst, executive director for Solutions at Northgate Public Services said: “The immense and growing volume of digital evidence can be fantastic if police are able to access it in a timely and efficient way.

“The reality is that many forces are struggling. Evidence is often stored and accessed in multiple digital silos that don’t work together, impairing efficiency. At best, many are achieving patchy results working with ad-hoc systems that can’t cope with the deluge of media.

“CONNECT Digital Assets was built from the ground up to tackle this key issue. It successfully deals with one of the key evidentiary challenges facing the justice system – working efficiently with integrated multimedia evidence to create an effective, compelling police case.”

FotoWare created the software that is traditionally used to pull together images and multimedia, creating ‘albums’ of evidence that can be annotated in the file.

FotoWare chief executive officer Christopher Frenning explained: “We see the need for solutions that officers can trust, that are easy to use, and help them work effectively with digital evidence of all types.

“Our Digital Asset Management platform is used by more than 2,000 customers worldwide to manage hundreds of millions of assets of all types, is commercially available to customers of all sizes, and is easily deployed and secured both in private clouds and on-premise. With new features tailored to law enforcement work, we want to help police forces of all sizes immediately realise the benefits of digital evidence gathering.”

CONNECT Digital Assets can operate as a standalone system, link to core operational policing systems or join Northgate Public Services’ Socrates Forensic Case Management system, currently in use by 38 forces across the UK.

MediaLogix, which is FotoWare’s Platinum Partner, is working with Northgate Public Services to install and customise the software for the UK market.

Faisal Mahmood, director of MediaLogix, said the reality is that successful prosecutions are more and more going to rest upon digital evidence.

“That’s the reason why across the UK forces are hard at work establishing digital evidence strategies and appointing digital heads to ensure they can take on the challenges involved with this kind of evidence,” he added.

“CONNECT Digital Assets’ integration with Fotoware DES (digital evidence system) enables police to achieve convictions and deliver justice more efficiently.”

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