Met Police embrace cloud for digital forensics

The Metropolitan Police Service (the Met) is looking to transform how it investigates crimes with relevant digital evidence from smartphones and computers with the adoption of technology from Microsoft Azure and Magnet Forensics, a developer of digital investigation software.

The rapid proliferation of digital devices and data relevant to investigations has put pressure on police agencies worldwide, creating backlogs in digital forensics labs, delaying cases and putting justice at risk. The highly technical nature of traditional digital forensics tools limits collaboration between digital forensic examiners and non-technical investigators, who have the full context of cases.

Darren Scates CTO Metropolitan Police Met“The Met is committed to being a leader in the digital transformation of policing. We aim to ensure that digital evidence critical to investigations is reviewed in a simple, timely, effective and secure manner to ensure justice is achieved,” said Darren Scates, the Met’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our digital forensic evidence review process is undergoing a paradigm shift with the introduction of Magnet REVIEW.”

Magnet REVIEW is a cloud-based, collaborative and secure digital forensic review platform for non-technical investigators that allows them to access and examine digital forensic evidence such as photos, chat logs and documents through an easy-to-use interface through a web browser.

Users will be able to leverage analytics tools, powered by Microsoft Azure, to identify and report on critical evidence in a timely manner. The platform also allows investigators to collaborate with technical personnel in the digital forensic lab and other units remotely, while maintaining the forensic integrity of the evidence.

The Met expects complete data analysis and investigations up to three times faster, allowing non-technical investigators to take on more cases, leading to a "significant" reduction in costs and inefficiencies such as external media to store evidence and reduce the risk of data corruption and breaches.

The new systems will ultimately replace a dated but standard operating procedure common to many police agencies around the world - where forensic specialists conduct their examination and export the outputs on to USB drives or CD-ROMs, often left insecure, that non-technical investigators can only view after travelling to the digital forensics lab and waiting for a workstation to become available.

The outputs of various digital forensics tools are different, technical in nature and often require further assistance from an examiner. These inefficiencies result in delays in investigations and prosecutions.

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