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Modern technology is needed to streamline complex investigations

Nikki Moscrop, Head of Law Enforcement & Government of BlackRainbow talks about how a modern intelligent solution assists with a collaborative approach to modern day policing.

There are endless challenges that Senior Investigating Officers are faced with day to day, and these are often dealing with the breadth, complexity and volume of crimes to investigate, making it even more important to be accountable for their actions as operational or procedural error can have grave effect on an investigation. There is a global recognition in policing to improve the service to investigate crime of any category.

As investigations become more complex, both physical and digital information makes its way to the central source of the investigation command. The quicker you can get the information in, the quicker you can understand it and build a sequence of events.

Gathering this data and converting it into relevant, useable information for presentation as potential evidence is not simple, nor straightforward. At BlackRainbow we have designed NIMBUS, a solution to streamline this process and optimise decision making whilst maintaining investigation integrity and disclosure rules.

When an investigation is launched, the major incident room consists of an eco-system of various roles and responsibilities which is often drawn from other departments or forces to boost the service response. This presents challenges of effectively bringing these stakeholders together with the right skill sets and training to get to the conclusion of the matter as soon as possible. The connectivity when multiple activities are happening in different places at the same time is often fragmented, non-collaborative and has always been a barrier to timeliness within complex and major investigations.

NIMBUS brings this eco-system to life by being fully integrated to share data and knowledge on a collaborative basis across investigations, whether this be cross border or cross countries, built to facilitate remote working with a centralised core to orchestrate activity through effective communication with real-time update and feed to the investigation command. The SIO can, for the first time, see all of the moving parts within the investigation in order to facilitate streamlined decision making and address any concerns around timeliness.   

Living in the digital age we must now digitise the way we work. This is a not a bad thing, for any investigation process covers several moving parts from the initial crime scene to post-charge case management. Some legacy systems have been a barrier to policing where quite often you are having to fit in with the system rather than the system fit you, which ultimately resulted in finding other ways of doing your job. This is not best practice, use of time, nor is it cost efficient.

From listening to the needs of policing, we built NIMBUS to be intuitive, with an interface that is highly configurable and flexible, meaning a system that now fits with how you work today and in the future. NIMBUS now becomes the SIO’s digital room assistant combining the four key principle phases of an investigation:

COLLECTION: Multi-source human and digital information, data, and evidence can be collected remotely via mobile devices and sent via a portal to the core application. Controlled exhibit handling and chain of custody for continuity driving efficiency and integrity from the outset.

PRODUCTIVITY: Being able to work with the data to produce actionable information. Digitised decision logs are represented in dashboards reflecting the decisions that have been made.  Activities are visualised live as they are taking place and updated, with action trees to show the quickest route between important events, providing a full audit history of what took place when and by whom.

ANALYTICS: Visualise the case to reveal hidden connections and sequential events in timeline views, or build you own canvas graphs allowing you to visually tell the story.

REPORTING: Minimise the burden of reporting and disclosure management from the initial data entry, saving time. Auto populate case information into statements and reports without the need to double key, avoiding errors. Send and view an electronic case file on mobile devices driving paperless investigations and court reports.

Using NIMBUS to streamline the investigative processes relieves officers of administrative burdens and supports their wellbeing which, I think you will agree, is a must.

And let’s not forget about the importance of quality. Being auditable, defensible and repeatable can only mean the enhancement of the criminal justice system’s confidence in the evidence being presented and reduce the number of failed trails.

NIMBUS is governed by quality, having an integrated quality management system to embed the quality ethos directly into investigations, process and business management. Optimise your internal audits for maintaining accreditations; document control for ease of access to SOPs; record and track staff training, skills and competencies ensuring they are always operational.

As forces now become streamlined, stronger and collaborative when bringing together the intelligence and information, the knowledge and the specialist skills to fight complex crime and terrorism, in turn, will significantly strengthen the ability to keep the public safe.

Visit us at FEE 2021 stand FE242 and ISE stand A4

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