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Things to look for in a Digital Evidence Management System in the UK

Explore the essential criteria for selecting the right Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) in the UK. Uncover key features, compliance standards, and considerations to ensure seamless handling and preservation of digital evidence in today's dynamic landscape.
by Hasan Rabbi Updated on December 20, 2023

Did you know 93% of all police forces in the UK wrench out data from digital devices? The problem is that there is an endless stream of digital data – photos, audio, videos, documents, etc. Hence, to securely store, retrieve, and share evidence, a Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) is the need of the hour!

In the UK, law enforcement agencies rely on DEMS to crack cases, preserve evidence, and ensure justice. In the legal world, DEMS are the secret weapon for managing and presenting digital proof in court.

But it doesn't stop there – government offices, healthcare institutions, schools, and businesses also swear by DEMS to stay compliant, keep sensitive data secure, and settle internal matters. In a nutshell, DEMS are a big deal in the UK, and their importance only keeps growing.

Let's dive into the world of digital evidence management in the UK.

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Why is there a need for a Digital Evidence Management System in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, the emergency services hotline, '999,' is a lifeline that connects citizens with immediate assistance during emergencies.

Whether it's a medical crisis, a fire, a crime in progress, or any other situation requiring urgent attention, dialing 999 is the first step to obtaining help.

The efficiency and accuracy of 999 calls can be a matter of life and death, making them one of the most vital types of digital evidence that law enforcement and emergency services handle.

Also, Digital evidence is sourced from various handheld and desktop devices, including images, video footage, call logs, archives, residual data, replicant data, volatile data, metadata, etc.

Besides that, strict laws govern responsible data handling while upholding the privacy of people who aren't relevant to the case.

Therefore, to cater to this ever-growing volume, UK-based organizations, legal entities, and law enforcers, among others, require a robust, secure, and compliant Digital Evidence Management System.

What should I look for in a Digital Evidence Management System in the UK?

When acquiring a Digital Evidence Management System in the UK, among other things, you should look for the following six features:

1. Chain of Custody

The chain of custody is vital to evidence reporting, highlighting how evidence has been processed since collection.

Courts require a detailed chain of custody/audit trail reports for digital evidence to be admissible during a case.

DEMS provides a detailed chain of custody reports so that apart from admissibility in court, you get to know your digital evidence has been untampered.

2. Evidence Sharing

Investigators and agencies need to collaborate with external agencies, court systems, attorneys, and prosecution to build cases.

Besides that, evidence is also shared with internal and external stakeholders within corporate environments and governmental agencies.

A Digital Evidence Management system allows the safe transfer of information while ensuring the chain of custody.

Only those authorized to view content can do so. Plus, they come with built-in collaborative features, like time-bound tokenized URLs.

3. AI-Powered Search Capabilities

Timely evidence sharing can make or break a case, so it should be made available when needed.

Manual retrieval can take anywhere from hours to days, so it is not an efficient process.

That's precisely why AI-powered searching is so necessary. It leverages you to find proof within clicks, and you can look for specific information within audio, documents, and videos.

4. Redaction

UK GDPR compliances require all shared evidence to be redacted to ensure the privacy of individuals relevant to the case in question.

You must ensure that all faces, government-issued numbers, and other personally identifiable information are kept at bay when sharing evidence.

Manual audio, document, and video redaction is a painstaking task that requires a reasonable amount of time; plus, there is considerable room for redaction failures.

Luckily, Digital Evidence Management Systems address this issue by providing a redaction software that allows automatic and manual redaction of sensitive data.

5. Deployment

We can't stress this enough, but choose a DEMS provider with flexible deployment options.

Agencies and organizations usually have more sensitive information they want to keep on their private servers and less confidential information on-cloud.

A fitting option is a DEMS provider that offers all four different deployment methods, namely SaaS, on-cloud, on-premises, and hybrid deployment.

6. Security and Compliance

Security is non-negotiable when handling digital evidence. Compliance with laws such as PACE and GDPR is critical, and failure to do so can land you with fines and tarnished goodwill.

A comprehensive Digital Evidence Management System will include encryption and other fool-proof security protocols to ensure that evidence is always kept away from prying eyes.

For more information, check out our key components of DEMS blog!

Why VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System fits well in the UK

VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System is an IDC-recognized software that allows secure storage, sorting, and sharing of evidence.

Compared to traditional mediums, our cost-efficient DEMS can ensure evidence is retrieved and shared promptly without being tampered with, mishandled, or lost.

It would help if you turned to our system as it is compliant and scalable, has several deployment options, allows bulk upload of different file types and sizes, and has various security protocols.

Besides that, it offers automatic transcriptions and translations to trump language barriers and a detailed chain of custody report to verify the authenticity of a piece of evidence.

But these are only a few features among the many. Opt for our 7-day free trial to learn more!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Digital Evidence Management System?

An Evidence Management System (EMS) is a software solution designed to effectively collect, store, manage, and safeguard various types of evidence, particularly in digital form. It provides a centralized platform for the secure storage and retrieval of evidence, ensuring its integrity and authenticity. A DEMS is a critical tool law enforcement agencies, legal professionals, and organizations use to streamline evidence handling, maintain the chain of custody, and comply with relevant regulations.

What are the different types of Digital Evidence?

Digital evidence encompasses a wide range of digital data that can be used in legal, investigative, or compliance contexts. Some common types of digital evidence include:

  • Electronic documents (e.g., emails, PDFs, spreadsheets)
  • Multimedia files (e.g., photos, videos, audio recordings)
  • Social media content
  • GPS and location data
  • Computer system logs and digital footprints
  • Metadata (data about data, such as timestamps and geolocation)
  • Internet browsing history
  • Mobile device data (e.g., call records, text messages)

How do you maintain the integrity of evidence?

Maintaining the integrity of evidence is crucial for its admissibility in legal proceedings. To ensure integrity:

  • Secure the evidence from tampering or unauthorized access.
  • Implement proper chain of custody procedures, documenting who handled the evidence and when.
  • Use cryptographic hashes to create digital signatures to verify data integrity.
  • Maintain detailed audit trails, recording all interactions with the evidence.
  • Adhere to best evidence storage and preservation practices, including encryption, access controls, and regular backups.

What is Evidence that has been tampered with?

Tampered evidence refers to any alteration, modification, or unauthorized manipulation of evidence. This can occur intentionally or unintentionally and may compromise the evidence's integrity, authenticity, or accuracy. Tampered evidence may be inadmissible in court, and it raises serious questions about the reliability of the data.

Posted by Hasan Rabbi

Hasan is an Associate Product Marketing Analyst at VIDIZMO. He is actively engaged in research pertaining to the digital evidence management challenges faced in the law enforcement and legal landscape. In case of any queries, feel free to reach out at websales@vidizmo.com.

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