Enabling Digital Forensics Capability Project

Reference code: 
PCD 165
Date signed: 
13 March 2017
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

This paper requests approval for the MPS’s participation in a Home Office Transforming Forensics Funded Project to assess the three level enabling digital forensics operating model recently implemented in the MPS and to determine the benefits of implementation in other forces to obtain economies of scale from collaboration.

The MPS will be entering into a collaboration agreement with West Yorkshire Police, so that the MPS can access funding of £429,000.

Recommendation

The DMPC is asked to

  1. Agree to the MPS entering into a collaboration agreement with West Yorkshire Police so that it can access £429,000 of funding in order to progress the “Enabling Digital Forensics Capability” project as part of the Home Office Transforming Forensics Programme.

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1.    Introduction and background

1.1.    The MPS has implemented an enabling model for digital forensics that has demonstrated significant benefits in terms of improved turnaround times for the extraction of data from digital devices. The model consist of three levels:
•    Level 1 Self Service Digital Forensic Kiosk – for use by investigating officers
•    Level 2 Digital Forensic Hubs – Examinations by trained technicians using more complex digital forensic tools and techniques
•    Level 3 Central Laboratory – Development of processes for novel devices, highly complex examinations and validation procedures.
The principal aim of this model is to provide forensic data more quickly and to support more effective outcomes in the criminal justice system.

1.2.    Four forces (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Kent and Essex) and the Eastern Region Serious and Organised Unit (ERSOU) are participating in the pilot project to evaluate the benefits gained from the adoption of the model in other forces  and to determine how it maybe optimally deployed, taking account of different operational contexts. 

1.3.    The agreed scope of the “Enabling Digital Forensics Capacity” project cover an in-depth quantitative evaluation of the benefits from the implementation of the model in the MPS, which will act as a demonstration site, a six month pilot of new technology and processes in the participating forces, and production of deliverables facilitating the longer-term deployment of the model in the other forces across the UK.

2.    Issues for consideration

2.1.    The MPS has commenced the project at risk due to the tight timescales. The Forensic Services budget will be used to cover the £180,800 expenditure that will be incurred by the end of March 2017, if the project is not approved. The MPS will be able to claim back the costs incurred from West Yorkshire Police, if the project is approved. The Home Office has confirmed the funding for 2016/17 cannot be carried forward to 2017/18.

3.    Financial Comments

3.1.    The funding of £429,000 will be made available to the MPS by entering into a collaboration agreement with West Yorkshire Police. West Yorkshire Police is the lead for the Transforming Forensics programme and has received Police Transformation Funding from the Home Office. The funding will be used to cover the cost of the project team including a business analyst/project manager and business change consultant, and the procurement of three kiosks for each of the participating forces and ERSOU for the pilot period.

3.2.    The expenditure for 2016/17 is £180,800 and the spend for 2017/18 is £248,200. The route to market for the kiosk equipment for the pilot will be via the Digital MPS contract, awarded in December 2016, which will allow the kiosk equipment to be procured compliantly and within the required timescales.

4.    Legal Comments

4.1.    Section 22 of the Police Act 1996, as amended by Section 89 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 allows for MOPAC, as the local policing body, in connection with the discharge of any of its functions to enter into a collaboration agreement.

4.2.    Under paragraph 4.5 of the MOPAC Scheme of Delegation and Consent  approval is required by the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime for all collaboration agreements where the Act requires. As this is police body collaboration, it is required.

4.3.    There will be a written agreement between MOPAC, MPS and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Police to formalise the arrangement. The agreement will be published under the Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011.

5.    Equality Comments

5.1.    The services proposed to be provided will be provisioned either as fixed term appointments or through current contracts for contingent workers. The sourcing of these resources either through an agency or as part of a recruitment process will be in accordance with the MPS internal standards and processes in accordance with the Equalities Act 2010.

6.    Background/supporting papers

6.1.    None.
 


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