- To share information and evidence from forces with IOPC investigators as quickly and efficiently as possible
- To share information with the CPS for disclosure more efficiently
- Reduce the physical handling of evidence
- Improve the security and evidential standard of material
- Not being able to watch CCTV footage because it isn’t in a playable format
- NICE Investigate
- Reduced security and storage risks managing large volumes of physical information
- Improved investigation timelines by streamlining processes and access to information
- Improved sharing of materials between police forces and the CPS
About the Independent Office for Police Conduct
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales. They investigate the most serious matters, including deaths following police contact, and set the standards by which the police should handle complaints. They also use learning from their work to influence changes in policing. The IOPC is independent, and makes decisions entirely independently of the police and government.
An important aspect of the work of the IOPC is to make it as easy as possible for involved parties, specifically police forces, to share information and evidence with its investigators as quickly and efficiently as possible. The IOPC had been looking for better ways to handle the ever evolving and increasing demands of digital evidence management, with COVID-19 and remote working accelerating this need even more.
Keith Tagg, IOPC Delivery Manager, explains the challenge: “When we start an investigation, digital material and evidence needs to be transferred to the IOPC by forces. In the past we relied on discs, USBs or hand delivery. By introducing a Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS), we knew we could make it easier and quicker to share information with forces or other bodies. Not only would this take less time, it would be more secure and be of a high evidential standard.”
The IOPC spoke to a number of forces and bodies to inform their decisions and procurement. NICE Investigate was selected to provide DEMS following a robust procurement process.
One of the factors which led to the IOPC choosing NICE Investigate was the feedback from forces, and the ability to playback different formats of CCTV footage. Keith Tagg said “Not being able to watch CCTV footage because it isn’t in a playable format is a problem shared by police forces and the IOPC. It can prolong and impede the progress of our investigations and can be frustrating when a quick decision is needed for a referral or appeal.
DEMS means we have consistent control of content, it’s more secure and we have a detailed audit trail. The assets don’t deteriorate over time and they can be retained and accessed a lot more easily. Most importantly, the assets are preserved to a high evidential standard.”
Keith Tagg, IOPC Delivery Manager
This issue was exacerbated during the pandemic when investigators working from home would need to travel to the office to watch the footage or request the footage be uploaded to the network. With DEMS any CCTV footage is automatically transcoded, so an investigator can instantly playback the footage with no delay.”
DEMS has also meant the IOPC is handling less physical material, which takes significant storage space and is less secure.
“DEMS means we have consistent control of content, it’s more secure and we have a detailed audit trail. The assets don’t deteriorate over time and they can be retained and accessed a lot more easily. Most importantly, the assets are preserved to a high evidential standard.”
“Feedback so far has been that forces like DEMS. Moving to more electronic sharing is a shared commitment across the whole criminal justice sector and so far this has been a positive experience.”
“Our next step is to share material via DEMS with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). There’s a shared commitment across the criminal justice sector to move to online management. Working with the CPS, DEMS means we can share a link to information residing on our system rather than actual files or physical material. This is more efficient, more secure and removes a major pain point from the disclosure process. We’re looking forward to making ongoing improvements,” Keith said.
About NICE Public Safety
With over 3000 customers and 30 years’ experience, NICE’s solutions deliver digital transformation, improved collaboration, efficiency and cost-savings to all types of public safety and criminal justice agencies, from emergency communications centres and police forces, to prosecutors, defence solicitors and courts.
Our Evidencentral platform (which includes NICE Inform, NICE Investigate and NICE Justice) features an ecosystem of integrated technologies that bring data together to improve incident response, accelerate investigations, streamline evidence disclosure, enhance digital collaboration with justice partners, and keep communities and citizens safer.
To find out more visit www.nicepublicsafety.com