New professional organisation to enhance status of cyber investigators

A new body that will provide cyber digital investigation specialists with the ability to gain formal recognition of their skills and competencies has been launched by the College of Policing (CoP) and the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec).

May 6, 2021
By Tony Thompson

The Institute of Cyber Digital Investigation Professionals (ICDIP) is the first professional organisation of its kind in the world. It will benchmark skills and accredit individuals to give confidence in cyber digital investigations.

The ICDIP will measure the competency of practitioners, allow them to prove their expert status and speed up the professionalisation of cyber digital investigation, giving confidence that any evidence from digital investigations presented in judicial proceedings has come from an authoritative source.

Ultimately this will help increase trust in digital evidence, give greater weight in court cases and ensure fair convictions.

The organisation originated in September 2015 when the Home Office discussed with law enforcement organisations and the CoP concerns that those working on cyber digital investigations were not recognised as a specialist profession. As a result, there were instances where the veracity of evidence presented at court had been challenged.

Following this, the CoP led work on a five-year project focusing on the professionalisation of the cyber digital investigations sector. Out of this, the ICDIP was formed, with assistance from the CIISec, which provided expertise in the development of accrediting professionals.

Initial funding from the Home Office, through the National Cyber Security Programme, established the initial success of the ICDIP, which will now become a self-funded organisation managed by CIISec under contract to the CoP.

The ambition is now that the ICDIP accreditation will become accepted as providing evidence of the same standing as an expert witness. This will result in increased success at court in cases where digital evidence has contributed to the investigation.

There are currently 700 accredited members across over 70 law enforcement agencies.

Sarra Fotheringham, policing standards manager for digital and cyber at the CoP, said: “The growing importance of cyber digital investigation skills in policing meant there needed to be both a standards framework and accreditation to measure them. Using the framework to validate competency assures that we have highly competent and capable individuals conducting specialist cyber and digital investigations.”

Amanda Finch, chief executive officer at the CIISec, said: “Measuring skills and competency through accreditation is vital in all factors of cyber, and investigation is no different. The growth of cybercrime, and the increased connection of cyber and digital activities with other crimes, means that a method to benchmark and prove individuals’ skills and reliability as a witness is crucial.”

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