With evidence commonly being digital or digitized, law enforcement processes have been transformed to leverage cloud/edge computing to stay relevant.
Due to the increase in digital crime and also the use of digital tools in physical crimes, the role of gathering and processing digital evidence — to boost the ability to access, manage and analyze digital data to accelerate investigations — has become more important than ever.
Storing and managing digital evidence can be burdensome, but modern solutions are being used to reduce this burden. The software tools for digital evidence management act as a hub for police officers, lawyers, security experts and other investigators to store, collect and organize digital evidence such as surveillance video or audio recordings.
Benefits and features
Generally, a digital evidence management system (DEMS) offers the following:
Strong security and encryption
To protect digital evidence from tampering, the DEMS software imposes strong data security and encryption features. This ensures only people with the right clearance and authorization can access digital evidence without affecting its integrity and legality.
Scalable data management
While filing digital electronic records may seem simpler than with traditional physical filing systems, the growing amount of digital data required to be filed presents new challenges to existing law enforcement infrastructure. Not only does a good DEMS facilitate the storage and organization of digital evidence systematically — it ensures that information is easy to find, sort, classify and process quickly. This is done through auto-tagging of data to help standardize and accelerate the digital evidence organization process, using basic information such as the name of the person in charge, or the location of the case.
Simple external sharing
Keeping evidence safe from unwanted eyes maintains the sanctity of the judicial process, but there are critical moments when evidence must move from the possession of the police. Law enforcement agencies need to be able to documents, photos, transcripts, video, and audio files with prosecutors and other court officials quickly and efficiently. At the same time, there should be restrictions on what items are shared to prevent misuse of evidence.
DEMS gives law enforcement personnel direct access to relevant evidence by creating secure links that can be shared with collaborators. To accelerate the sharing process, AI technology can be used to identify and mask common editing targets such as faces.
Efficient evidence processing
Efficiency is critical to the evidence inventory process. Investigators are already under much time pressure, so the faster and simpler the process required for uploading evidence, the less chance for mistakes to occur with important evidence.
DEMS software allows personnel to upload large amounts of data in any format directly from their mobile phone or desktop at fast upload speeds. The folder structure of uploaded material is preserved, and users can also set up automatic synchronization schedules so that selected storage media locations and folders are continuously uploaded to the cloud, even after they log out.
Evidence management requires a clear audit trail. A good DEMS automatically creates and maintains a “chain of custody” to prevent anything improper from happening — whether it involves tampering or loss of data.
As soon as digital evidence is sent to the system, the DEMS creates and automatically updates an audit trail. All user actions involving the evidence are logged to ensure that the authenticity of the evidence is beyond doubt.
Digital evidence quickly fills up storage drive space. Maintaining extensive evidence records over long periods of time means testing the limits of storage capacity, which is why law enforcement agencies emphasize the importance of unlimited evidence storage capacity. DEMS are likely to be cloud-based storage solutions that take the worry out of storage capacity problems by offering centralized, unlimited digital storage with unlimited storage plans.
Broad image file compatibility
With the wide variety of video file formats on the market, available playback options for digital video evidence can vary depending on the source of the evidence footage. In many cases, images taken from body-worn cameras, close-circuit TVs and interrogation-room cameras support only their own file formats. DEMS are expected to be compatible with the widest arrays of digital media formats so that evidence is always playable and of sufficient quality to be presented in court.
With DEMS being implemented in the digital transformation of law enforcement agencies around the world, justice can continue to be served efficiently.