Posted on: 04/11/2020
Voice communications are often a critical piece of the investigative puzzle and a rich source of evidence. As such, reliable, resilient capture of high-quality audio and metadata has long been a key part of the public safety technology stack.
Many organisations’ voice data sets are locked within their ICCS, CAD and/or CRMs and are easily siloed from other data, preventing them from having a clear 360-degree view of incidents and fully analysing conversations vital to an incident.
The technology landscape for public safety organisations is evolving. Voice data remains central to understanding and responding appropriately to incidents - but with advances in technology, additional visual and digital assets are now available from multiple sources. This brings with it new challenges, mainly by way of accessing and collecting the data, as well as ensuring regulatory compliance. More importantly, it can also ensure that the force is equipped to do its job.
Siloed Systems, Increased Risk
Whether it’s video, still imagery, or otherwise, securely managing and collating digital assets is a challenge for many organisations, especially police forces. Without a centralised Digital Evidence and Asset Management (DEAM) system to store data, tracking each asset is almost impossible. From understanding where all of the data and assets are being stored, to accessing and managing retention of evidence in line with MoPI guidance, forces are faced with tricky, laborious tasks.
To provide context, data is typically stored and transferred via CD-ROM or USB, which naturally raises security concerns and data loss risks. For example, these digital assets often need transporting to the CPS or other judicial bodies, which historically has meant information is loaded on to discs or USBs and transported via a third-party courier, all of which leaves the police force vulnerable to data loss.
This of course can also lead to a variety of problems: not being able to source data could harm the outcome of cases; there is an inherent security risk with misplaced data; and police forces could incur significant fines for failing to adhere to regulation around the misallocation of data.
The Way Forward
One effective solution is manifesting itself in the partnership between voice capture specialists, Red Box, and Innaxys, leaders in bringing innovation to policing through intelligence-led solutions. The two organisations are working together to enable police forces to centrally manage voice recordings and other media that are captured both within the control room and from officers in the field through body-worn technology, as well as CCTV recordings, interview room footage and publicly crowd-sourced incident images and footage.
The high-quality voice data, metadata and transcripts captured by Red Box are fed seamlessly into the fully MoPI compliant InnaxysDyTASK© Intelligent Policing Digital Evidence and Asset Management (DEAM) Platform, which enables all digital assets associated to an incident to be safely stored in a central location. This alleviates the aforementioned issues and risks with regards to the storage and transfer of critical evidence.
For example, evidence can be uploaded directly into the DEAM platform from crime scenes – by both the public as well as officers - ready to be presented to a suspect at the first interview. This could significantly reduce the amount of time a case takes to be resolved and can result in a decreased number of ‘no comment’ interviews thanks to the evidence being present in the first instance.
This highly innovative solution also enables the force to source data and footage directly from certain systems, including CCTV. Authorised officers can simply send a request directly from the system, asking for relevant footage from the CCTV cameras. Sourcing information via secure links saves officers a visit to the premises, and it also saves business owners the disruption of having to accommodate unwanted visits by police officers during business hours. Critically, it ensures timely retrieval and storage of CCTV footage, which could otherwise be deleted by the time police officers have been able to visit the premises, access, download and secure it.
Through the utilisation of these tools, many processes can be streamlined. This results in a reduction in time spent arranging visits to access data, footage and other assets, as well as travel to premises or searching through multiple systems and storage devices, freeing up time for officers to focus on incident management and case resolution.
‘When’, Not ‘If’
The police force is in need of modernisation. The good news is that the solutions and technology required to alleviate decades-old issues already exist. Whether it’s freeing up the time of the workforce; adhering to regulation and reducing fines; or an increase in the amount of resolved cases, a technological investment that can effectively store and analyse key data is a first step that will lead to quality of life improvements across the force, and most importantly of all, the people that the force is there to serve.