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Advertorial: 5 ways for forensic labs to win the backlog battle

By Dan Embury - Director, Technical & Services Development at Cellebrite.

Advertorial: 5 ways for forensic labs to win the backlog battle

Date - 23rd March 2022
By - Dan Embury
1 Comment 1 Comment}

A recent Channel 4 News investigation1 has revealed that more than 20,000 digital devices are waiting in UK police backlogs for processing and analysis. This excludes data from the Metropolitan Police Service of London and Greater Manchester Police that was not disclosed.

These latest figures follow the trend identified previously in Freedom of Information requests in 2020 showing more than 12,000 digital devices in backlogs across 32 police forces2 and in the 2021 Forensic Capability Network summary describing 14,000 devices waiting analysis3.

As the unending backlog of devices grows every month, it undercuts the credibility of UK police forces, overwhelms their lab capabilities, strains their resources, and impedes meting out justice to criminals.

Without exception, all stakeholders are clearly concerned and working towards improving the situation, both in terms of throughput and quality. At the top is the Forensic Science Regulator, previously served by Dr Gillian Tully CBE. In her final report4 published January 2021, she said:

"In reality, the current level of fragmentation of digital forensics service provision and the shortage of capacity mean that policing is unlikely to be able to catch up with compliance until wider changes have been made.

"There are many challenges in handling and utilising large volumes of data appropriately and in keeping up with rapidly changing technology. Nonetheless, there is also advanced technology already in existence which, if it can be appropriately adapted, tested and deployed, has the potential to make relatively rapid improvements to efficiency, effectiveness and quality."

Cellebrite Advantages

As a leader in the field of Digital Intelligence, Cellebrite is uniquely qualified to address these concerns and provide practical solutions. To that end, here are five advantages Cellebrite offers to help UK police forces pare down their digital device backlogs:

  1. Products: ensuring that best-in-class solutions are deployed for Collect & Review, such as Cellebrite Responder, Premium ES, Physical Analyzer, and Reader, backed by our UK Technical Customer Support team to maximise technology assimilation
  2. Proficiency: investing in Cellebrite Training & Advisory Services for capabilities development and personnel competency development, with industry-leading certifications such as Cellebrite Certified Mobile Examiner (CCME)
  3. Procedures: implementing efficient workflows for device triage and processing, drawing from best practices for meeting the requirements of ISO 17025 UKAS accreditation, including enlisting Cellebrite Consulting & Advisory Services for refinement
  4. Priorities: focusing on urgent and high-profile cases, but particularly those with a devasting impact on victims involving sexual violence or human trafficking, and by evolving internal policy while minimising the time that victims are deprived of personal phones
  5. Progression: developing and moving towards a more advanced state of resource augmentation by outsourcing to the capable, professional team at the Cellebrite Advanced Services (CAS) lab in London

The June 2021 Force Management Statement5 released by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) found a high demand now for digital forensics that would significantly increase over time. But more troubling, the report also found that the resources with the capacity and capability to meet this demand were limited and insufficient.

Not surprisingly, the overall risk assessment of this situation was rated high. The reality is that while the MPS continues to outsource appropriate work, there is a limited market with the capacity and capability to handle it efficiently.

Fortunately, law enforcement agencies have discovered a robust solution for closing their digital divide.

Cellebrite Advanced Services—Key to Reducing Backlogs

Cellebrite Advanced Services (CAS) brings to the market a proven track record to fulfill the needs of UK law enforcement with a well-positioned offering, backed by the following key characteristics:

  • Prowess: CAS employs unique, unmatched capabilities with best-in-class tools and techniques developed by world-class security researchers. CAS provides expansive service offerings for all digital devices, including mobile phones, computers, and more.
  • People: CAS is comprised of the top talent in the market, security vetted and experienced, many of whom are former law enforcement personnel who have the benefit of Cellebrite training and additional surge staffing to meet almost any demand.
  • Processes: CAS has had a UK lab presence since 2017, backed by an established global lab network in eight other countries, with an advanced case tracking system and an easy-to-use online portal in accordance with ISO 17025 accreditation targeted for 2022.
  • Price: CAS can offer a competitive cost structure as a one-stop-shop for digital device unlocking, extraction, and reporting with the potential for a single-sourced partnership delivering value and quality to police and their community.
  • Possibilities: CAS was created in 2015 and has accomplished continuous success with over 20,000 cases handled globally and infinite potential to expand to address law enforcement needs, both in capacity and capability, with advanced solutions and Custom Research Projects.

Cellebrite Advanced Services are comprised of the most professional teams with field experience, offering a scalable solution for reducing backlogs that can be implemented immediately.

By outsourcing to Cellebrite's advanced lab capabilities, UK police forces will be able to provide better service to their communities and streamline justice.

To learn more about how Cellebrite Advanced Services can help your agency address your backlog, click here to request a consultation with our team of experts.

About the Author:

Dan Embury is a Digital Intelligence expert with more than 22 years of digital forensics and electronics experience. Prior to joining Cellebrite in 2015 as Technical Director to establish Cellebrite Advanced Services (CAS), he served Canadian and international law enforcement needs for over 10 years by leading ground-breaking research into BlackBerry devices at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Since relocating to the UK in 2021, his role has expanded to include Services Development as well as acting Quality Manager as Cellebrite works towards ISO 17025 UKAS accreditation slated for 2022 completion.

ENDNOTES:

1: https://www.channel4.com/news/police-backlog-of-over-20000-digital-devices-awaiting-examination

2: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2020/04/police-struggle-to-cope-with-digital-evidence-backlog/

3: https://www.fcn.police.uk/sites/default/files/2021-01/FCN%20-%20guide%20for%20members%20-%20Jan%202021.pdf

4: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950087/FSR_Annual_Report_2019-2020_Issue_1.pdf

5: https://www.met.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/media/downloads/force-content/met/about-us/Background-to-business-plan-Force-Management-Statement-June-2021.pdf

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Comments

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NW-Bobby - Wed, 23 March 2022

No doubt those figures exclude mobile devices awaiting a local download as well.... because they are not recorded on the same system.