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Anti-paedophile police force crippled by lack of tech resources

Children’s charity NSPCC claims to have found that UK Police forces lack the necessary computer resources to review evidence of online abuse.

According to the charity, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests reveals that although Police across England and Wales are seizing thousands of computers during investigations, there are not enough officers available with the ability to analyse the material they contain.

For example, in 2013, Lancashire Constabulary seized 745 computers but employed just three forensic examiners to extract images from them.

Meanwhile, Hertfordshire Constabulary seized 516 computers and employed four forensic examiners, while Avon and Somerset Police took hold of 466 computers and employed 13 analysts, but the FOI did not make it clear if they were all forensically trained.

The NSPCC is concerned that because Police forces across the UK seem to seize far more computers than they have the skills to analyse, there will be delays in bringing suspects to court.

Collaboration software could solve problems

According to Major Keith Miller, Officer Formerly Commanding the Royal Military Police’s Service Police Crime Bureau (RMP SPCB), the traditional method of using one analyst to trawl through thousands of digital images on a tower computer is highly ineffectual.

While Major Miller still worked with RMP, he implemented software from AccessData to enable collaboration and was able to dramatically reduce the time and cost of investigations.

The RMP uses AccessData Forensic ToolKit (FTK) and AccessData LAB to aid its investigations and he claims civilian Police forces could also benefit from using it.

“We appreciate that Police forces are under enormous pressure, which is why they need to look at more efficient ways of clearing the backlog of cases,” claimed AccessData SVP Simon Whitburn.

“The RMP has assisted in a number of cases and is speaking to civilian Police forces about the benefits of bringing investigating offers into early case assessment through collaborative technology,” he added.